Life is a journey; the choices you make now will determine your eternal destination.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Praying for Conversions

We all know someone whom we wish would convert to our beautiful faith. I pray for certain family members, and many of my friends. I'm sure I should pray for many more, individually, but I usually wrap it into one when I pray the rosary when I say "for the conversion of sinners throughout the world" in my intentions. There is a prayer to St. Joseph that I particularly love, from the book: My favorite Prayers and Novenas, published by Pauline Books and Media. So here it is for you.

Prayer to Obtain a Conversion

O holy St. Joseph, who merited to be called just by the Holy Spirit, I urgently recommend to you the coversion of (N.), whom Jesus redeemed at the price of His precious blood. You know how sad is the state and how unhappy the lives of those who have banished this loving Savior from their hearts, and how greatly they are exposed to the danger of losing Him eternally. I beg you not to permit a person so dear to me to live far from God. Preserve him/her from all danger. Touch the heart of this prodigal and lead him/her back to God. Do not abandon (N.) until you have opened to him/her the gates of the heavenly city, where he/she will praise and bless you throughout eternity for the graces owed to your powerful intersession. Amen.

I am, like my patron Saint, Teresa of Avila, devoted to St. Joseph, and find myself praying to him more and more- along with Mary!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The feast of St. John the Baptist


Today is the feast day of St. John the Baptist, and Fr. Corapi's birthday. This image is a wood carving of St. John, baptising Jesus.
Just as St. John was a voice crying out in the wilderness, so Fr. Corapi and others like him, who are not afraid to speak the truth, are voices crying out in the wilderness for us; when we are losing our way in this world of iniquity, sin, false gods, moral corruption, and the deceptive snares of evil, we have these wonderful priests and religious to turn to who are using the media and the world stage of the internet to do God's work. For those who live a rural life, like I do, this is very important- we don't have a church just around the corner or even close by, no Adoration, no spiritual direction as priests are scarce here and often stay in a parish for 1 to 4 years before being shipped somewhere else. So having good, consistant advice is a blessing and I am thankful for Fr. Corapi, Mother Angelica, and EWTN.
I would also like to thank here all my blogging buddies for working so hard at their blogs to stimulate spiritual discussion on the web. I think that reading each other's thoughts and discussions aids our spiritual growth. Thanks, everyone!

Monday, June 23, 2008

For Therese

Therese at Aussie Coffee Shop has lost her baby. Please pray for her and her family. Therese, this video is for you.

Humility Today

Let's talk today about humility, and the lack of it, in today's world. Everywhere we are encouraged to beat our own drum; to show off our talents, to emphasize our best features, to make sure that others know how well we can do something, to compete to be the best, to succeed in all we attempt. After all, we are told not to hide our light under a bushel (Matthew 5:15).
On the other hand, look at those in whom God has done His greatest work. The greatest ones are the most humble. Mary didn't tell anyone that she was carrying the Son of God, she left it up to God to reveal. St. Faustina was a very humble nun who called herself little, as did St. Therese. When you read the life stories of saints, they have one thing in common; they reject the lures of fame and fortune, they live simple and even austere lives.
So can someone who is extraordinary, for example those who have great skills at art, music, scientific thought, physical prowess, beauty, etc., let their light shine and be humble at the same time?
I think that the answer is yes, if they don't concentrate on these gifts from God, and seek the admiration of others who are less skilled, talented, or beautiful. The light that they let shine should not be their own, but the light of Christ, shining through them. Those who are great in the eyes of the world have the added burden of falling prey to the sins of pride, greed, and corruption.
The humble of this world are often ridiculed and scorned. How difficult it must be for parents to teach their children about the value of humility when our youth are being inundated by television, movies, advertising and music geared to make them think of themselves first, others second, and God last; instead of God first, everyone else second, and themselves last.
Beauty, physical skills, great minds, are all fleeting things ; we grow old, feeble, and senile. Greatness is not found in anything of our own doing but in doing the will of God.
Humility frees us from the need of being praised, loved, honored. It frees us from the false value of self-esteem that is so touted by pop psychologists. It frees us from fear; fear of being snubbed, outcast, disliked, ridiculed.
Humility detaches you from the snares of the world. It shows you that honors, awards and achievements so prized by man are hollow, fleeting things. That does not mean that we are not to strive to do our best, to utilise our talents to the utmost, to fully employ the gifts that God has given us, but that we are not to glory in them, but rather give the glory to God who has chosen you to receive and share these gifts.
If we are to draw ourselves close to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we must imitate Him in humility, He who humbled Himself for our salvation.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fr. Corapi Newsletter

This week's newsletter from Fr. Corapi was worth sharing with you all:

St. John the Baptist

This week on “Weekly Wisdom” I’ll speak about one of my favorite saints, in fact my patron saint—John the Baptist. He reminds us that the Church is supposed to be endowed with the prophetic spirit of Christ in every age.
Jesus said of John the Baptist that no man born of woman was ever greater. John was a prophet in the tradition of Elijah and the other great prophets of the Old Testament. He was indeed a voice crying in the wilderness, making straight the paths for the Lord. As such he knew the Heart and Mind of God through long years of intense prayer in solitude and the penance that went with it. He, like Elijah, was zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. He was a champion of truth and of God.
Like all of the true prophets, St. John was not afraid of the evils of the times or the most powerful people who caused them and gave bad example to others. He spoke fearlessly to Pharisees and kings alike, unconcerned for his own welfare in the process. He was martyred for truth in the end. I wonder what John would have to say today? I wonder if he would give the evil rulers of the day a pass despite the blood on their hands, the blood of the most innocent—the unborn from abortion, the long ago born from euthanasia, the chronically sick because no one will take care of them? Or, would he bring down the wrath of nature and God alike on them, like Elijah did? The prophets, unlike most men of their day, could see clearly in the pure light of the God who is truth. They were not blind to that which is grossly immoral, nor were they concerned more for the glitter of silver and gold than the right to life for all human life.
I wonder who St. John the Baptist would vote for? Would gasoline prices, or anything else imaginable, be more important than the slaughter of the innocent through abortion, euthanasia, and other such crimes against humanity? What “proportionate reason” would he consider weighty enough to vindicate voting for those who condone and promote what is clearly tantamount to genocide? I wonder?
God bless you,
Fr. John Corapi

Thursday, June 19, 2008

On Spiritual Reading

Saints and spiritual directors always advise us to do some spiritual reading every day. I have been trying to do this, even if it is only for a few minutes; even reading one psalm and reflecting on it, or a chapter from one of the books I have on the go. My sister over at Salve Regina lent me a book that I am just starting, by Fr. Martin von Cochem, titled The Incredible Catholic Mass. I am really looking forward to this one, as I am sure it will lead to a greater reverence and understanding of this most holy Sacrifice. Not that I don't already revere the Mass; but I am always seeking ways to deepen my understanding of, and love for, God.
Every chapter or booklet I read seems to have one sentence that jumps out at me and gives me that Aha! moment, like this one from Paul Whitcomb's The Catholic Church Has The Answer:
"My blessed Catholic faith fills my soul with a peace and sense of security I had never before thought possible." This is exactly what I was looking for when I started my journey back to the Church. My soul was restless, I knew that I needed to change, but I had no direction. That peace and security which our faith gives is what my soul was craving. It is not, however, something I take for granted as a just reward for returning to the faith of my childhood; it is something that I hold precious and a goal to constantly work towards, so that the snares of the devil will not strip it from me.
That, my friends, is why the saints tell us to read spiritual books every day- so that we don't become complaisant in our faith, taking for granted that we will continue to receive grace. Grace is an earned priveledge, and we must work every day to remain in it. And spiritual reading, if you allow it to, keeps our souls on the path of peace, security, and love of God.

Monday, June 16, 2008

My Journey, Continued

With the anniversary of my brother's death (he was 51) on the 14th, and the anniversary of my sister's death on June 7,(she was 16), our mortality has been on my mind lately. We have relatives whose time is drawing near, and God only knows the time remaining for each of us. So today I give this reflection from The Imitation of Christ:

Thoughts on Death

VERY soon your life here will end; consider, then, what may be in store for you elsewhere. Today we live; tomorrow we die and are quickly forgotten. Oh, the dullness and hardness of a heart which looks only to the present instead of preparing for that which is to come!
Therefore, in every deed and every thought, act as though you were to die this very day. If you had a good conscience you would not fear death very much. It is better to avoid sin than to fear death. If you are not prepared today, how will you be prepared tomorrow? Tomorrow is an uncertain day; how do you know you will have a tomorrow?
What good is it to live a long life when we amend that life so little? Indeed, a long life does not always benefit us, but on the contrary, frequently adds to our guilt. Would that in this world we had lived well throughout one single day. Many count up the years they have spent in religion but find their lives made little holier. If it is so terrifying to die, it is nevertheless possible that to live longer is more dangerous. Blessed is he who keeps the moment of death ever before his eyes and prepares for it every day.
If you have ever seen a man die, remember that you, too, must go the same way. In the morning consider that you may not live till evening, and when evening comes do not dare to promise yourself the dawn. Be always ready, therefore, and so live that death will never take you unprepared. Many die suddenly and unexpectedly, for in the unexpected hour the Son of God will come. When that last moment arrives you will begin to have a quite different opinion of the life that is now entirely past and you will regret very much that you were so careless and remiss.
How happy and prudent is he who tries now in life to be what he wants to be found in death. Perfect contempt of the world, a lively desire to advance in virtue, a love for discipline, the works of penance, readiness to obey, self-denial, and the endurance of every hardship for the love of Christ, these will give a man great expectations of a happy death.
You can do many good works when in good health; what can you do when you are ill? Few are made better by sickness. Likewise they who undertake many pilgrimages seldom become holy.
Do not put your trust in friends and relatives, and do not put off the care of your soul till later, for men will forget you more quickly than you think. It is better to provide now, in time, and send some good account ahead of you than to rely on the help of others. If you do not care for your own welfare now, who will care when you are gone?
The present is very precious; these are the days of salvation; now is the acceptable time. How sad that you do not spend the time in which you might purchase everlasting life in a better way. The time will come when you will want just one day, just one hour in which to make amends, and do you know whether you will obtain it?
See, then, dearly beloved, the great danger from which you can free yourself and the great fear from which you can be saved, if only you will always be wary and mindful of death. Try to live now in such a manner that at the moment of death you may be glad rather than fearful. Learn to die to the world now, that then you may begin to live with Christ. Learn to spurn all things now, that then you may freely go to Him. Chastise your body in penance now, that then you may have the confidence born of certainty.
Ah, foolish man, why do you plan to live long when you are not sure of living even a day? How many have been deceived and suddenly snatched away! How often have you heard of persons being killed by drownings, by fatal falls from high places, of persons dying at meals, at play, in fires, by the sword, in pestilence, or at the hands of robbers! Death is the end of everyone and the life of man quickly passes away like a shadow.
Who will remember you when you are dead? Who will pray for you? Do now, beloved, what you can, because you do not know when you will die, nor what your fate will be after death. Gather for yourself the riches of immortality while you have time. Think of nothing but your salvation. Care only for the things of God. Make friends for yourself now by honoring the saints of God, by imitating their actions, so that when you depart this life they may receive you into everlasting dwellings.
Keep yourself as a stranger here on earth, a pilgrim whom its affairs do not concern at all. Keep your heart free and raise it up to God, for you have not here a lasting home. To Him direct your daily prayers, your sighs and tears, that your soul may merit after death to pass in happiness to the Lord.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

I hope that Father's Day was a good one for all dads and for our spiritual fathers; our priests. Dads are often the unsung heroes of life, sacrificing the majority of their time at their jobs,and only having a few hours , and sometimes a few minutes, each day to spend with the families that their labour supports. So a hat-tip to all dads, and to them I offer this prayer, to St. Joseph, the most glorious of fathers among men:

O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires.
O St. Joseph, assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me all spiritual blessings through thy foster son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, so that, having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer thee my thanksgiving and homage.
O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thine Arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.
St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Remembering Joe



A year ago today, my brother Joe passed away from cancer. Our family came from across the country to spend time with him at the hospital, and most of us were there when he received the Last Rites. The priest from Joe's church in Calgary came up to Edmonton from Calgary twice in the last week of his life to give him this Sacrament, which was very beautifully done, in the traditional Latin as Joe 's church is the SSPX Immaculate Heart. We prayed the Rosary with him every day in the hospital. Joe was very dedicated to St. Joseph, his patron saint, and to our Blessed Mother. 3 days before his death, my sister Georgia and I were privileged to hear him make an act of total consecration to Mary, which he did straight from the heart; it had us in tears. When he was moved to the Hospice, I stayed overnight with him. During the night he was very uncomfortable, and wanted to stand up. He couldn't do it on his own , and I will never forget helping him to stand for the last time, my arms around him, supporting him in a way that I couldn't do for him during his troubled life. My sister Margi, who dropped everything when she found out Joe was in the hospital, spent every one of the 14 days at his side, and she and I prayed the chaplet of Divine Mercy for him an hour before he died, peacefully, with Margi and her husband Robert holding his hands, and I at his feet, praying the Hail Mary repeatedly.

Cancer is a painful way to die, but I believe that my brother had a beautiful death, surrounded by family, in full receipt of the Sacraments of the Church,(he even received the Sacrament of Reconcilliation twice in the last week) and he offered his suffering up to God in reparation for his sins.

Now the Laborer’s Task is O’er

Now the laborer’s task is o’er;
Now the battle day is past;
Now upon the farther shore
Lands the voyager at last.
Father, in Thy gracious keeping
Leave we now Thy servant sleeping.

There the tears of earth are dried;
There its hidden things are clear;
There the work of life is tried
By a juster judge than here.
Father, in Thy gracious keeping
Leave we now Thy servant sleeping.

There the penitents that turn
To the cross their dying eyes,
All the love of Jesus learn
At His feet in Paradise.
Father, in Thy gracious keeping
Leave we now Thy servant sleeping.

There no more the powers of hell
Can prevail to mar their peace;
Christ the Lord shall guard them well.
He who died for their release.
Father, in Thy gracious keeping
Leave we now Thy servant sleeping.

“Earth to earth, and dust to dust,”
Calmly now the words we say;
Left behind, we wait in trust
For the resurrection day.
Father, in Thy gracious keeping
Leave we now Thy servant sleeping.


John Lodge Ellerton

Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord, let perpetual light shine upon him, and may he rest in peace. Amen.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Third place for Andrew



Choirboy Andrew Johnston placed third in "Britian's Got Talent" and sang Pie Jesu at the semi finals. While he didn't win the competition Simon Cowell's record company signed him to a Million pound recording contract, with an album to be released this year. I just hope that fame and fortune don't spoil this young man.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

From A Drop of Water to an Ocean

One often hears the phrase, "the richness of our Catholic Faith". This richness is something that is unfolding for me, layer after layer, as I grow in the understanding and love of my faith. It's rather like a kachina doll, when you open it up, there is another one inside of it. I started by going to Mass, then I was praying the rosary every day; more daily prayers followed, then I started to understand the effect of sin in my life, from which flowed a love of the Sacrament of Reconcilliaton (what a great grace that is!). This resulted in changes in my lifestyle, my way of speaking and dealing with others (a work in progress!) It also lead to a love of spiritual reading, which increased my appreciation of the great treasury of the Communion of Saints, and devotion to Mary. This led to a desire to imitate the virtues and holiness of those beloved of God, to develop a desire for humility and charity (another work in progress!). And like the kachina dolls, who are all painted the same way, the common underlying thread of this journey is love of God, from which flows all grace, and holds everything together; a thread which is growing stronger and has become not just a thread, but a lifeline.
One little drop of water (attending one Mass) has become an unstoppable ocean of love for God and a desire to do His will so that I may, one day, love Him for eternity.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My Journey, Continued

I found that this chapter from The Imitation of Christ was very timely for me, and helped me to understand a part of myself that has been troubling me recently:

Bearing with the Faults of Others

UNTIL God ordains otherwise, a man ought to bear patiently whatever he cannot correct in himself and in others. Consider it better thus -- perhaps to try your patience and to test you, for without such patience and trial your merits are of little account. Nevertheless, under such difficulties you should pray that God will consent to help you bear them calmly.
If, after being admonished once or twice, a person does not amend, do not argue with him but commit the whole matter to God that His will and honor may be furthered in all His servants, for God knows well how to turn evil to good. Try to bear patiently with the defects and infirmities of others, whatever they may be, because you also have many a fault which others must endure.
If you cannot make yourself what you would wish to be, how can you bend others to your will? We want them to be perfect, yet we do not correct our own faults. We wish them to be severely corrected, yet we will not correct ourselves. Their great liberty displeases us, yet we would not be denied what we ask. We would have them bound by laws, yet we will allow ourselves to be restrained in nothing. Hence, it is clear how seldom we think of others as we do of ourselves.
If all were perfect, what should we have to suffer from others for God's sake? But God has so ordained, that we may learn to bear with one another's burdens, for there is no man without fault, no man without burden, no man sufficient to himself nor wise enough. Hence we must support one another, console one another, mutually help, counsel, and advise, for the measure of every man's virtue is best revealed in time of adversity -- adversity that does not weaken a man but rather shows what he is.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Power of Words

I found this interesting article at The Western Catholic Reporter; and while it pertains to the Media, I think that as bloggers, we can count ourselves as "Word Warriors". We are, after all, on the electronic world stage, at a grassroots level.

Media must be 'word warriors'
Ethicist tells Catholic journalists to give people the words they need to protect their dignity

- CCN file photo
Ethicist Margaret Somerville reminded Catholic communicators 'good ethics demand good facts.


By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic NewsToronto

Ethicist Margaret Somerville challenged members of Catholic media to become "word warriors" and ethics agents to give people "the words they need to protect human dignity."
"Words matter" because human dignity is under "unprecedented threat," Somerville told about 400 Catholic journalists and communications professionals. "A few words can turn the tide."
Somerville gave an example from a recent conference in Turkey, dealing with the ethics of selling human organs. Most participants shared a horror of organ trafficking and "organ tourism," but some were willing to consider the sale of organs because the organs are so scarce.
Organ slavery
Somerville said that at that conference she called the sale of human organs "the 21st century form of slavery." People used to sell the whole body, now they will sell bits and pieces of it, she said. Those words prompted spontaneous applause.
People need to be given the words so they can express what they believe ethically, she said, adding, "Give them the words to speak their truth."
Somerville, one of Canada's leading intellectuals, is the founding director of McGill University's Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law. She spoke at the Catholic Media Convention in Toronto May 28.
She noted that she has been criticized for saying in relation to euthanasia that "you can't have doctors killing their patients."
A broken trust
However, she said it has been proven that euthanasia laws do promote fear of the medical profession. When the Northern Territory state in Australia passed a euthanasia law, Aboriginal people stopped going to clinics or even having their children immunized for fear that doctors might kill them. The law was repealed in less than a year.
"I'm sometimes deeply dismayed by language religious people use in the public square."
- Margaret Somerville
Somerville said she once suggested that if doctors should not be involved in euthanasia perhaps a specially trained group of lawyers could do it.
The response was a horrified "You can't have lawyers killing people," she said. This shift in the language helped people grasp what was at stake in euthanasia - killing people, not helping people die.
But Somerville warned against using overtly religious language.
"I'm sometimes deeply dismayed by language religious people use in the public square," she said. Not only is the language alienating; it makes it easier for opponents to dismiss the arguments as merely religious. A good secular or nonreligious argument can alter perspectives.
Though people are interested in spiritual and religious topics, they "need to be surprised by new, non-cliched insights," she said.
Keep your cool
She also urged respectful responses, even toward opponents who are disrespectful. She cringes when religious people attack their opponents.
"Good ethics require good facts," she said. Lies and deliberate omissions are never ethically acceptable.
Studies show people trust the media less than they trust government or business, so Somerville urged the building of trust.
Members of the media must ask themselves, "Who are we trying to persuade?" she said.
Even though Catholic media professionals appeal to a Catholic audience, those consumers also need to be equipped with good nonreligious arguments. How information is framed determines how it is received, she said. -->

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My Journey, Continued

I recently bought a treasure of a book, "The Imitation of Mary"- this one is not by Thomas A Kempis, but by Alexander De Rouville, first published in 1768. I would like to share with you this passage, which is written as if Mary was speaking:

My child, the soul that is detached from the world and all that occupies the world lives truly happy days in solitude. Its only concern is with God, as though it was alone on earth with Him.
In solitude the spirit is always recollected so that it may always hear the Lord's voice, and nothing can interrupt the heart's own voice as it constantly speaks to God.
It delights in repeating the simple words, You are the God of my heart(Ps.73:26), and finds in them its whole fulfillment, wealth, and joy.

A little further on, it continues:

You must love solitude if you are safely to appear among men. For it is in solitude that you learn to act when you are amid the world.
To live withdrawn from the world is one of the most effective means of preserving your own innocence of soul. Nothing weakens a man's virtue more than the frequent companionship of men.
Can anyone breathe the poisoned air of the world without being infected by it? Pull back often into solitude and breathe its purer air.
The holy hermits tell us that they were never better able to converse intimately with God than when they had withdrawn from worldly affairs and worldly company.
My child, God finds His delight in being with you; find yours in being with Him in solitude.
There, far more freely than elsewhere, you can reveal to Him your inmost thoughts. You can far more readily manifest your feelings with the freedom that a respectful trust in Him will give you.
There, too, you will more easily develop the thoughts that will alleviate your sorrows, calm your fears, dissipate your doubts, and show you the sure way to act wisely in every situation.
Finally, it is in solitude that God enables your heart to hear the secret words that only He can speak. His heart will speak to yours in a language that only His friends can understand, and His words will imprint upon your soul the truths that spring from His love.

I would like to add to this that the best place I have found to talk to God in solitude is in front of the Tabernacle at Adoration, which I was blessed to be able to do on my recent trip to the coast for my neice's Confirmation. (Thanks to my sister for taking me there!) We don't have Adoration anywhere near here, but I'm working on that.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

THE AKATHISTOS HYMN

Here is a copy of this beautiful prayer of the Eastern Rite, courtesy of Fr. Corapi's Weekly Wisdom series. Be prepared to pray this as you read it.

THE AKATHISTOS HYMN

BLESSED IS OUR GOD, ALWAYS, NOW AND FOREVERMORE.
AMEN.
- O HEAVENLY KING, COMFORTER, SPIRIT OF TRUTH, YOU ARE
EVERYWHERE PRESENT AND FIT ALL THINGS. TREASURY OF
BLESSINGS, AND GIVER OF LIFE, COME AND DWELL WITHIN US,
CLEANSE US OF ALL STAIN, AND SAVE OUR SOULS, O GRACIOUS
ONE!
- HOLY GOD, HOLY AND MIGHTY, HOLY AND IMMORTAL ONE, HAVE
MERCY ON US. (Three times)
- O MOST HOLY TRINITY, HAVE MERCY ON US! O LORD, CLEANSE US
OF OUR SINS! O MASTER, FORGIVE OUR TRANSGRESSIONS! O HOLY
ONE, COME TO US AND HEAL OUR INFIRMITIES FOR YOUR
NAME'S SAKE!
- LORD, HAVE MERCY. (Three times)
- GLORY BE TO THE FATHER + AND TO THE SON, AND TO THE
HOLY SPIRIT, NOW AND EVER, AND FOREVER, AMEN.
- 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. - FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE
GLORY, FATHER +, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT, NOW AND EVER AND
FOREVER. AMEN.
-LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
Lord, have mercy!
PREAMBLE
As soon as the angel had received his command, he hastened to
Joseph's house and said to the Ever Virgin: "Behold, heaven was
brought down to earth when the Word Himself was fully contained
in you! Now that I see Him in your womb, taking a servant's form, I
cry out to you in wonder: Hail, O Bride and Maiden Ever Pure!"
FIRST CHANT
An Archangel was sent from heaven to greet the Mother of God, and
as he saw you assuming a body at the sound of his bodiless voice,
O Lord, he stood rapt in amazement and cried out to her in these
words:
Hail, O you, through whom Joy will shine forth!
Hail, O you, through whom the curse will disappear!
Hail, O Restoration of the Fallen Adam!
Hail, O Redemption of the Tears of Eve!
Hail, O Peak above the reach of human thought!
Hail, O Depth even beyond the sight of angels!
Hail, O you who have become a Kingly Throne!
Hail, O you who carry Him Who Carries All!
Hail, O Star who manifest the Sun!
Hail, O Womb of the Divine Incarnation!
Hail, O you through whom creation is renewed!
Hail, O you through whom the Creator becomes a Babe!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
KONTAKION
Knowing that she was a virgin, the blessed one courageously
answered the angel: "Your surprising words seem hard for my mind
to accept: how can you speak of a birth that is to come from a
conception without seed? And why do you cry, Alleluia?"
[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!
SECOND CHANT
Trying to grasp the meaning of this mystery, the Virgin asked the
holy messenger: "How is it possible that a son be born from a
virginal womb? Tell me." And he answered her with awe, crying out
in these words:
Hail, O hidden Sense of the ineffable Plan!
Hail, O Belief in Silence That Must Be!
Hail, O Forecast of the Marvels of Christ!
Hail, O Fountainhead of truths concerning Him!
Hail, Celestial Ladder, by whom God came down!
Hail, O Bridge leading earthly ones to heaven!
Hail, O Wonder, ever-thrilling to the angels!
Hail, O Wound, ever-hurting to the demons!
Hail, O you who gave birth to Light ineffably!
Hail, O you who told no one how it was done!
Hail, O you who surpass the wisdom of the wise!
Hail, O you who enlighten faithful minds!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
KONTAKION
When the power of the Most High overshadowed the one who had
never known the nuptial bed, her fruitful womb conceived, and she
became for all a delicious field: for those who wished to reap
salvation by singing "ALLELUIA"
[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!
THIRD CHANT
Pregnant with God, the Virgin hastened to Elizabeth, her unborn
child rejoiced, immediately knowing her embrace. Bouncing and
singing, he cried out to the Mother of God:
Hail, O Tendril whose Bud shall not wilt!
Hail, O Soil whose Fruit shall not perish!
Hail, O Tender of mankind's loving Tender!
Hail, O Gardener of the Gardener of Life!
Hail, O Earth who yielded abundant mercies!
Hail, O Table full-laden with appeasement!
Hail, for you have greened anew the pastures of delight!
Hail, for you have prepared a haven for the souls!
Hail, acceptable Incense of Prayer!
Hail, Expiation of the whole universe!
Hail, O you Favor of God to mortal men!
Hail, O you Trust of mortals before God!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
KONTAKION
Filled with a storm of contradictory thoughts, the wise Joseph was
greatly disturbed: until then, he had seen you a virgin, and now he
suspected you of secret guilt, all-blameless one! Learning that your
conception was of the Holy Spirit, he cried out: "Alleluia!"
[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!
FOURTH CHANT
The Shepherds heard the angels singing hymns of praise to the
coming of Christ in the Flesh. And running to Him as to a shepherd,
they saw Him as a spotless lamb, grazing at Mary's breast. They
sang a hymn to her and said:
Hail, O Mother of Lamb and Shepherd!
Hail, O Fold of rational sheep!
Hail, O Protection against unseen foes!
Hail, O Key to the Doors of Paradise!
Hail, for the heavenly rejoice with the earth!
Hail, for the earthly meet the heavens in song!
Hail, the Unsilenced Voice of the Apostles!
Hail, the Undaunted Might of Martyrs!
Hail, O Steadfast Foundation of Faith!
Hail, O Shining Emblem of Grace!
Hail, O you through whom death was despoiled!
Hail, O you through whom we were clothed with glory!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
KONTAKION
When they saw the Star moved by God, the Magi followed its
glittering light. Using it as a beacon, they found through it the
Mighty King, and reaching the One Beyond All Reach, they rejoiced
and cried out to Him: "Alleluia!"
[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!
FIFTH CHANT
The Sons of Chaldaea saw in the Virgin's hands the One whose
hands had fashioned men: and acknowledging Him as the Master,
although He had taken the form of a servant, they hastened to
honor Him with their gifts and cried out to the Blessed One:
Hail, O Mother of the Star Without Setting!
Hail, O Radiance of the Mystical Day!
Hail, O you who quenched the flame of error!
Hail, O Light of those who search the Trinity!
Hail, O you who unthroned the Enemy of Men!
Hail, O you who showed forth Christ the Lord, Lover of Mankind!
Hail, O you who cleansed us from the stain of pagan worship!
Hail, O you who saved us from the mire of evil deeds!
Hail, O you who made cease the cult of fire!
Hail, O you who guide the faithful toward wisdom!
Hail, O you, Delight of all the Nations!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
KONTAKION
The Magi, become God-bearing heralds, returned to Babylon,
conforming to your command, announcing You, the Christ, to all,
and leaving Herod as a fool who did not know how to sing:
"Alleluia!"
[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!
SIXTH CHANT
Illuminating Egypt with the Light of Truth, you cast away the
darkness of error. For the idols, unable to stand your might, fell
down, and those who had been delivered from them cried out to
the Mother of God:
Hail, O Resurrection of mankind!
Hail, O Downfall of the Demons!
Hail, O you who crushed the error of deceit!
Hail, O you who exposed the fraud of idols!
Hail, O Sea who drowned the symbolic Pharaon!
Hail, O Rock who quenched those who thirst for Life!
Hail, O Pillar of Fire who guided those in darkness!
Hail, O Shelter of the World, wider than the clouds!
Hail, O Food who took the place of Manna!
Hail, O Handmaid of holy delight!
Hail, O Land of the promised good!
Hail, O you who flow with milk and honey!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
KONTAKION
As Simeon was about to leave the present deceitful world, You were
entrusted to him as an infant, but You made Yourself known to him
as the perfect God. Wherefore he marveled at your wisdom beyond
words, and cried out: "Alleluia!"
[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!
SEVENTH CHANT
The Creator displayed a new creation to us who had come from
Him: He came forth from a womb that had received no seed, and He
left it intact as it had been, so that at the sight of this marvel, we
would sing to her and cry out:
Hail, O Blossom of Incorruption!
Hail, O Crown of Self-mastery!
Hail, O you who shone forth as a Sign of Resurrection!
Hail, O you who displayed the Life of Angels!
Hail, Fruitful Tree from whom believers feed!
Hail, Shady Glen where many are sheltered!
Hail, O you who have born the Guide of the Lost!
Hail, Source of Life to the captives' Release!
Hail, O you who unsettled even the Just Judge!
Hail, Indulgence of many who have fallen!
Hail, O Stole for those who lack freedom to speak!
Hail, O Tenderness who exceed all desire!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
KONTAKION
Now that we have seen this strange birth, let us estrange ourselves
from the world and turn our minds to heaven: indeed, it is for this
that the God Most High appeared on earth as a lowly man, desiring
to draw up to heaven those who cry out to Him: "Alleluia!"
[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!
EIGHTH CHANT
While fully present amid those below, the uncircumscribed Word
was in no way absent from those above: for what happened was a
divine condescension, and not a moving from one place to another:
and it was a birth from a Virgin inspired by God, who heard these
words:
Hail, O Space of the Spaceless God!
Hail, O Gate of the Sublime Mystery!
Hail, O Message unsure to men without faith!
Hail, O Glory most certain to those who believe!
Hail, O Sacred Chariot of the One above the Cherubim!
Hail, Perfect Dwelling of the One above the Seraphim!
Hail, O you who reconciled opposites!
Hail, O you who combined maidenhood and motherhood!
Hail, O you through whom Paradise was opened!
Hail, O Key to the Kingdom of Christ!
Hail, O Hope for the Ages of Bliss!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
KONTAKION
The whole order of the Angels marveled at the great work of your
becoming a man: for they saw the One inaccessible as God become
a Man accessible to all, living with us and hearing us cry out:
"Alleluia!"
[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!
NINTH CHANT
O Mother of God, we see the best of speakers become as mute as
fish in your regard, for they could not explain how you could give
birth while remaining a virgin. As for us, while marveling at the
mystery, we cry out to you with faith:
Hail, O Container of God's Wisdom!
Hail, O Treasury of His Providence!
Hail, O Reproof of foolish philosophers!
Hail, O Confusion of speechless wise men!
Hail, for you perplexed the inquisitive minds!
Hail, for you dried up the inventors of myths!
Hail, for you ripped the Athenians' meshes!
Hail, for you filled the Fishermen's nets!
Hail, O Retriever from the Abyss of Ignorance!
Hail, O Lamplight of Knowledge to many!
Hail, O Ship for those who seek Salvation!
Hail, O Harbor for the Sailors of Life!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
KONTAKION
Desiring to save the world, the Creator of All came down to it of His
own will. Being at the same time our Shepherd and our God, He
appeared among us. And so the like called upon the like, and as
God He heard: "Alleluia!"
[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!
TENTH CHANT
O Virgin Mother of God, you are the strength of Virgins and of all
those who have recourse to you. For the Maker of heaven and earth
covered you with His shadow, O Pure One, and came to dwell in
your womb, and taught us all to cry out to you:
Hail, O Pillar of Virginity!
Hail, O Gateway of Salvation!
Hail, O Principle of the New Creation!
Hail, O Dispenser of God's bounties!
Hail, for you restored those born in shame!
Hail, for you gave sense to those who had lost it!
Hail, O you who stopped the corruptor of minds!
Hail, O you who bore the Sower of Chastity!
Hail, Holy Chamber of virginal wedlock!
Hail, O you who join the faithful with God!
Hail, O gracious Foster-Mother of virgins!
Hail, O Bridesmaid of holy souls!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
KONTAKION
Because He wished to grant release from all the ancient debts, the
One who pays men's dues came down Himself to those who had
spurned His grace; He tore up their obligations, and heard from all
of them this cry: "Alleluia!"
[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!
TWELFTH CHANT
By singing praise to your maternity, we all exalt you as a spiritual
temple, Mother of God! For the One Who Dwelt Within Your Womb,
the Lord Who Holds All Things in His Hands, sanctified you,
glorified you, and taught all men to sing to you:
Hail, O Tabernacle of God the Word!
Hail, O Holy One, more holy than the saints!
Hail, O Ark that the Spirit has gilded!
Hail, Inexhaustible Treasure of Life!
Hail, Precious Crown of rightful authorities!
Hail, Sacred Glory of reverent priests!
Hail, Unshakable Tower of the Church!
Hail, Unbreachable Wall of the Kingdom!
Hail, O you through whom the trophies are raised!
Hail, O you through whom the enemies are routed!
Hail, O heating of my body!
Hail, O salvation of my soul!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
KONTAKION
O Mother worthy of all praise, you who have given birth to the
Word, the Holiest of the Holy, accept this present offering, deliver
all men from every affliction, and save from the future punishment
those who cry out to you: "Alleluia!"
[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!
Gabriel was rapt in amazement as he beheld your virginity and the
splendor of your purity, O Mother of God, and he cried out to you:
"By what name shall I call you? I am bewildered; I am lost! I shall
greet you as I was commanded to do: Hail, O Woman full of Grace!"
DISMISSAL
GLORY TO YOU, O CHRIST, OUR GOD AND OUR HOPE: GLORY BE TO
YOU!
[RESPONSE]: GLORY BE TO THE FATHER AND TO THE SON, AND TO
THE HOLY SPIRIT, NOW AND EVER, AND FOREVER AMEN, LORD,
HAVE MERCY! LORD, HAVE MERCY! MAY CHRIST OUR TRUE GOD
HAVE MERCY ON US AND SAVE US,
THROUGH THE PRAYERS OF HIS MOST PURE MOTHER AND OF ALL
THE HOLY, GLORIOUS, AND ILLUSTRIOUS APOSTLES, THROUGH THE
PRAYERS OF ST. (N) WHOSE MEMORY WE CELEBRATE TODAY, AND
OF ALL THE SAINTS, FOR HE IS GRACIOUS AND LOVES MANKIND!