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

Friday, August 29, 2008

New blog on the block!

I'd like to direct you a new blog, Cornelius's Corner by my Godson, Frank. Most of you will know of him as the husband of Marilena, my sister at A Traditional Catholic. He shares his conversion story from being brought up behind the Iron Curtain, to loving our beautiful Catholic faith. Welcome, Frank!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Night inspiration

A few nights ago, I had something odd happen. Normally, I usually awaken numerous times during the night, say a prayer and fall back asleep. On this particular night, when I would wake up, I thought of a letter in the alphabet, and then an aspect of God that was connected with it, and a short meditation on it, and then I would fall asleep again. The next time I woke up, it would be the very next letter, and the same thing again. Fortunately for my state of rest, this only went on for about five times before I managed to sleep the rest of the night. An example of this is: J- Justice; God comes to us as the Just Judge at our death; O Lord, come not as the King of Justice but as the Lord of Mercy! Have mercy on me, a sinner!
K-Knowledge; O Lord, give me knowledge of my sins that I may confess them and avoid occasions that lead me into sin!
The next day, I was reading a little booklet by St. Alphonsus Ligouri; How to Converse Continually and Familiarly with God (available at Tan) and read this:
God will be beside you when you sleep, always keeping watch over you: "When I go into my house I shall repose myself with her: for her conversation hath no bitterness, nor her company any tediousness." (Wis.8:16) He does not go away from your bedside when you rest. Rather, He continues to think of you always, so that if you awake during the night, He may speak to you by His inspirations and receive in turn from you an act of love or of oblation or of thanksgiving; and in this way, even during the night, He keeps up His loving conversation with you. Sometimes He even speaks to you in your sleep, and makes His voice sound in your ears, that you may put His wishes into execution when you awake. " I will speak to him in a dream." (Num. 12:6)
It's wonderful how many ways God can work in our lives, if we are willing to hear His voice and desire to do His will.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Journey, Continued-Pray Always

St. Paul tells us in Thessalonians to pray without ceasing. The older I get, the easier this becomes- I used to think that this was a very hard thing to do. I believe that the more we pray, the more grace we are given, and the more grace we have, the lighter the yoke -
Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.
Lately, I find that when I awake during the night, I think of someone from my past, and I am inspired to pray for them-even a quick Hail Mary before I fall asleep again. So now I carry this practice over into the day; often I will use a short prayer, such as -Lord, have mercy on him/her.
St. Alphonsus Ligouri, in The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation, says this about ejaculatory prayers:
St John Chrysostom says that he who utters ejaculations closes the door against Satan and prevents his constant annoyance with wicked thoughts. It is by acts of love, conformity and self-oblation, together with the invocation of the holy names of Jesus and Mary, that we give the greatest pleasure to God. One who loves, thinks constantly of the object of his love. A soul that loves God will therefore always think of Him, and seek occasions, alone as well as in company, to say frequently to your heavenly Bridegroom: "O God, I desire only Thee and nothing else"; or "I give myself wholly to Thee; I desire what Thou desirest; do with me according to Thy good pleasure." These few words alone are enough: "My God, I love Thee" or :"My Love, my All!" You may also, without uttering a word, raise your eyes to Heaven or cast a loving glance at the tabernacle or the crucifix. These silent acts are especially to be recommended because they require no effort, they can be more frequently made, and are often attended with greater fervor than other ejaculations. The best acts of love, of course, are those that well up from the depth of the heart at the impulse of the Holy Ghost.
The thing I like the best about these short prayers is that they are free of distractions, by which Satan robs us of the value of our prayers.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A friend award

My thanks to Tom in Vegas for awarding me the Blogging Friends Forever gold card. He has one of the blogs I follow regularly, and has some interesting points on a lot of subjects; and we love a lot of the same music.
I pass this along to:

Therese at Aussie Coffee shop

My sister at A Traditional Catholic

My Journey, Continued

The biggest drawback to living a rural life is that I am unable to go to weekday Mass. The grace of assisting at Mass is so great that I would go every day if I was able. Yesterday, I had to go to the city, so I made sure that I timed it so that I could go to Mass, and celebrate the Queenship of Mary. It is said that every Mass you hear will go with you to judgement and plead for your pardon, and that it wins for you a higher degree of glory in heaven, and that it is the most powerful atonement for your sins. Now, I have a lot of sins to atone for, as I was away from the church for about 35 years, so I think that I need to hear a lot of Masses! Many Catholics don't attend weekday Mass because of their jobs. If it were possible for you to attend an early Mass before going to work, would you go? I made sure that at my new job, I requested that I don't work on Saturday, which is the only day that the priest comes to say Mass in our little town. I would not take a job that didn't allow me to go to Mass; the state of my eternal soul is much more important than my temporal well-being on earth.

31 Be not solicitous therefore, saying, What shall we eat: or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? 32 For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. 33 Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Be not therefore solicitous for tomorrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.
Matthew Chapter 6

Leave your temporal affairs in God's care; do what is right and according to the Holy Will of God. Seek your reward in the Kingdom of Heaven, not on earth.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Good photography blog

This is one of many images from the blog, Te Deum Laudamus from the Assumption Grotto in Detroit. Check it out! This was the Mass for the feast of The Assumption.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vatican news

Vatican directive: "Yahweh" inappropriate for liturgical use

Aug. 13, 2008 ( - The Vatican has ruled that the Name of God, commonly rendered as "Yahweh," should not be pronounced in the Catholic liturgy.
The Vatican directive will not require any changes in the language of liturgy, since the Name of God is not spelled out in any authorized translation of the Roman Missal. However some hymns may be deemed inappropriate for liturgical use.
The Congregation for Divine Worship, in issuing the new directive, reminds bishops that in the Hebrew tradition, which the early Christians adopted, the faithful avoided pronouncing the Name of God. The Vatican directive explains that "as an expression of the infinite greatness and majesty of God, it was held to be unpronounceable."
In place of the Name of God, pious Hebrews used the four-letter tetragammaton YHWH, or substituted the terms "Adonai" or "the Lord." The first Christians continued this practice, the Vatican notes.
The Congregation for Divine Worship observes that the invocation of "the Lord" in Scriptural text follows this practice. Thus when St. Paul prays that "every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord," the Vatican letter says that his statement "corresponds exactly to a proclamation of [Christ's] divinity."
The Bible reflects the Hebrew tradition, and the Name of God is not spelled out in authorized Catholic translations. The Vatican instruction says that liturgical language should adhere carefully to the Scriptural texts, so that the Word of God is "conserved and transmitted in an integral and faithful manner."
However, the instruction notes, "in recent years the practice has crept in" of using the Name of God and spelling out the tetragrammaton. That practice should be avoided in the Catholic liturgy, the Vatican says.
The effect of the Vatican directive should be evident in the selection of hymns, since some contemporary liturgical music violates the policy by pronouncing the Name of God. The policy will also call for some care in the preparation of variable elements in the liturgy, such as the Prayers of the Faithful.
The letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship, dated June 29, was signed by Cardinal Francis Arinze (bio - news) and Archbishop Malcom Ranjith, the prefect and secretary, respectively of that congregation.
In an August 8 letter to the bishops of the US hierarchy, relaying the Vatican directive, Bishop Arthur Serratelli-- the chairman of the US bishops' liturgy committee-- welcomed the instruction, saying that it "helps to emphasize the theological accuracy of our language and appropriate reverence for the name of God."

Some of my favourite quotes

God is not wont to speak to a soul that does not speak to Him

The environment of a good Catholic family cannot be overestimated

Adversity strengthens

Penance adds power to prayer

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions

Charity begins at home

Sin murders God insofar as it is possible for man to do so

The Lord is here and is asking for you

Monday, August 18, 2008

The books are on their way

Today, the books for my giveaway were in the mail, so I got them sent off to Therese, Peter, Andrew and Marilena. I hope they love this book as much as my sister and I do!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Journey, Continued

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)

The poor in spirit-those who are humble and are not attached to their possessions. I know a lot of people who are attached to their possessions and the things of this world, and who do not have God in their lives. I pray for them daily. It isn't an easy thing to be detached from the things you own; how many of us would give up something that we have spent our hard-earned money for? My husband is an inspiration to me in this regard; he tends to give much more freely than I do. I found this interesting and inspiring passage in The Imitation of Mary (Alexander De Rouville):

Mary: My child, the best use you can make of your abundance is to help the poor with it. If you do possess wealth, bear in mind that in giving it to you Divine Providence made you its administrator with a view to those who have no riches. Do not imitate the rich miser who closes his heart to the needs of his brothers and would rather see them die a wretched death than deprive himself of something in order to help them. He thinks of piling up treasure only in the present life. But the day will come when he passes from time to eternity and, waking from his sleep, finds himself empty-handed.
Imitate, rather, the rich who are compassionate and humane; who become fathers to the poor; who are not afraid to impoverish themselves by giving alms freely.
How many blessings such men receive even on earth! Yet far more precious are the blessings they will receive in heaven.
Frequently the Lord gives back to them in overflowing measure even on earth, what love has made them give away to the poor.
In addition, they may expect to have in eternity all the fullness He has promised.
If paradise had been closed to them because of their sins, almsgiving could open it to them. By almsgiving they could, as it were, make payment for their sins.
Make it your duty, then, to help the unfortunate.Do not give ear to your own cupidity which claims it never has enough. You are not forbidden to save, but you may not be hard-hearted and miserly. How praiseworthy it is to be thrifty so that one may help the poor!
Unless you are very poor, do not think you need give no alms. You must give alms according to your means. If you have a great deal, give a great deal; if you have but a little, then gladly share that little with the poor.
My child, all who have practised the works of mercy during their earthly lives will feel great confidence as they stand before the judgement seat of the God of mercy.

I hear so often; "I worked hard for my money; those people could be working too- why should I support them ?" Remember, it is not up to us to judge, but to help others. Sometimes the best help we can give is to help them to help themselves; enable someone to get an education, or help them to find a job, or even by babysitting while they look for work. Sometimes just simply praying for someone can be an almsgiving, especially if you are poor yourself. Whatever your situation, there is always something you can do that will benefit another- remember the Corporal and Spiritual works of mercy, and try to incorporate them into daily life.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Having Mass said for yourself

Many of us know that we can have Mass said for our departed loved ones; it is one of the most efficacious methods of helping the suffering souls in Purgatory. But according to St. Anselm, a single Mass said for you in your lifetime is equivalent to many said for you after your death:

Every Mass which a man says or hears obtains for him an increase of glory in Heaven; this is not the case when Mass, or even hundreds of Masses are offered for him after his death.

If you hear Mass or have Mass said for yourself when in a state of wrath, God will perchance, for the sake of that Mass, bring you to a knowledge of sin and grant you the grace of contrition, and thus you may return to a state of grace; this would be impossible after death. For if, neglecting Mass, you were to die in mortal sin, no number of Masses offered for you could procure your return to the state of grace.
All the Masses which you hear, or are said for you, will await you at your death: they will go with you to the judgement seat; they will plead for mercy for you; and if they do not preserve you altogether from the cleansing flames, they will at any rate shorten the time of your detention. But if the Masses are not said until after your death, you will have to await in anguish the alleviation they will bring.
One Mass said in your lifetime will do more to free the soul from the punishment of sin than many Masses after death. For our sojourn in this world is a time of grace, afterwards comes the time of just retribution; now it will be far easier to make our peace with our Judge than it will be hereafter. A slight penance voluntarily performed in this world has more value in the sight of God than compulsory penance of much greater severity in the world to come.
(Source: The Incredible Catholic Mass)

Do you have Masses said for yourself? One way you can do it is to ask for the Mass but not say who requested it, or you can ask for a Mass "for the intentions of a parishioner" and let the priest know that the Mass is for you but you don't want your name made public. To attend a Mass for your own intentions gives you much greater grace than to have a Mass said for you at some distant church and not attend it yourself.

Helping the Holy Souls in Purgatory

I have a strong devotion to the souls in Purgatory, and so was quite delighted to find another way of relieving their pain. I found this in The Incredible Catholic Mass:

The suffering souls also experience a great alleviation when the graves are incensed and sprinkled with holy water. The holy water does indeed only materially moisten the earth, but in its beneficent virtue it refreshes the souls in Purgatory, just as the waters of Baptism falling on the head of the infant have the power to cleanse his soul. Therefore see that you frequently sprinkle the last resting place of your friends with holy water, for thereby you will allay the heat of the flames that torture them.

What a simple and easy thing this is to do! And if you wish to apply an indulgence to them, devoutly visit a cemetery and pray for the departed; this indulgence is applicable only to their souls, not for yourself. While you are there, sprinkle as many graves as you can! I have begun the habit of visiting cemeteries that I drive by; just a quick stop to pray a requiem and three Hail Marys for them; now I will add holy water as well.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Playlist update

Just a quick note to let you know that I have added some new chants to my playlist; they are Eastern Rite. "The Resurrection" has bells accompanying it, and makes me think of walking through a little European village in the evening.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My Journey, Continued

In my last post on my journey, I wrote that the road to Heaven is paved with grace. I am willing to spend the rest of my life trying merit heaven for my eternal soul; to do this I must be open to grace. It means putting aside my own inclinations and cantankerousness to do the will of God - easier said than done! How easy it is to be upset with someone else for what they say or do that does not suit my way of doing things; to take offence when criticised; to not be willing to help another if I don't personally like that person! How often have I ignored the inspirations of the Holy Spirit telling me to do this or that charitable act; or my Guardian Angel prompting me to do something that I later wish I had done.
We all have to take responsibility for the destination of our souls, and every moment of every day, we must make the right choices in what we say, think, and do if we wish to attain the glory of Heaven.
I am thankful for the Sacraments, which allow us to continually come back to a state of grace when, in our human weakness, we fall, as we so often do. Especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And I thank God for His mercy and love, and pray for more and holy priests to continue to bring us the Sacraments.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My brother's birthday

Today my brother would have been 54. This picture was taken in 1975, at a tree planting camp in the Rockies. I ask Joe to pray for the conversion of my other brothers and my father, and I offer this prayer for Joe's soul:
O gentlest Heart of Jesus, ever present in the Blessed Sacrament, ever consumed with burning love for the poor captive souls in Purgatory, have mercy on the soul of Your departed servant (Joe).Be not severe in Your judgement, but let some drops of Your Precious Blood fall upon him, and send, O merciful Savior, Your angels to conduct him to a place of refreshment, light and peace. Amen.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Prayer from St. Alphonsus Ligouri

St. Alphonsus' Prayer for the End of the Day
Jesus Christ my God, I adore you and I thank you for all the graces you have given me this day.
I offer you my sleep and all the moments of this night, and I implore you to keep me safe from sin.
To this end I place myself in your Sacred side and under the mantle of our Lady, my Mother.
Let your holy angels surround me and keep me in peace; and let your blessing be upon me. Amen.

Book giveaway winners

I am still waiting for the books to come in the mail from Tan Books, but as soon as I do, I will be sending them out to the winners of the giveaway:

Col. B at Todays Catholic

and Peter

I am keeping one for myself so that I can send the one I am reading back to my sister at Salve Regina, and the last copy I promised to my other sister at A Traditional Catholic

Please check your email!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

My Journey, Continued-Grace

Since I am giving away some copies of the book ,"The Incredible Catholic Mass", this week I will share with you some of its beautiful writing.

Grace is a supernatural gift by which man is made just, pleasing in the sight of God and worthy of everlasting life. This grace is infused in the soul at Baptism and never leaves it, unless it is obliterated by mortal sin. This grace is twofold: there is Sanctifying Grace and Actual Grace. By means of the first we are brought out of a state of mortal sin into a state of grace; from sinners we become just; from children of wrath we are made children of God and heirs of Heaven. By means of the second, man grows in grace by good works.

How precious grace is St. Thomas Aquinas tells us: "One single grace," he says, "is a greater good than all the good things of the world." If an Angel had to state the true value of God's grace, he would be compelled to acknowledge that the least drop of grace outweighs all the gold, the silver, the jewels, all the wealth of the whole wide world. It is difficult to believe this, still more to comprehend it, yet it is undoubtedly true. For whoever possesses the smallest degree of God's grace is the friend of God; and if he dies in this grace, for the sake of it, God will give Himself to him as his reward, as He spoke to Abram: "I am thy Protector, and thy reward exceeding great." (Gen. 15:1) Therefore, since in God are all the treasures of Heaven and earth- nay, treasures far surpassing all that are in Heaven and earth- it follows of necessity that if man, by faithfully cooperating with grace, receives God Himself as his reward, he obtains a hundred thousand times more than he would have had if the world with all its riches had been given him for his possession.

Furthermore, be it known that a pious Christian, by every good work he performs, increases God's grace in him, and this not merely by great works, but by every good work however insignificant, even by every holy thought and pious aspiration. All such thoughts, words and works increase God's grace in the soul, and each one merits an accession of grace now and a greater reward hereafter, according to Our Lord's own words: "Whoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, amen, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward." (Matt. 10:42). That is to say, he will receive greater joy and glory in Heaven; God will give Himself to him in more plenteous measure. He will grant him to know Him more clearly, to love Him more dearly, to enjoy Him more nearly. Now, seeing that God's grace is earned so easily and that he who corresponds to it obtains so great a reward, who will not strive to do what is good and to serve God with all his heart?

Consider what wonders grace works in the soul. In the first place, it invests her with surpassing loveliness, rendering her so fair and attractive that the beauty of the sun, the stars, the flowers, of man himself cannot compare with hers. If we could only see a soul in the state of grace, we should be forced to admit that, in comparison with it, nothing fair in nature is of any account.God Himself takes pleasure in it and would rather that Heaven and earth shall pass away than that the beauty of such a soul should be marred or destroyed by mortal sin. Even the least degree of grace is productive of this beauty, but it is enhanced and increased by each added grace.

Thus, grace gains for the soul the favor of God and causes it to be united to God in a close, tender and familiar relationship. The soul, when beautified by grace, is indeed so dear to God that He is pleased to dwell with it, rather than in Heaven itself, provided it makes a due return for His love. And even if the soul does not do its part, He does not withdraw from it until it separates itself forcibly from Him by mortal sin. Then He forsakes it reluctantly and feels it more deeply than men or Angels can conceive. Nor does He yet altogether abandon the soul but stands at the
door, knocking from time to time, as if asking for readmission, as He Himself says: "Behold, I stand at the gate and knock.... if any man shall open to me the door, I will come in to him." (Apoc.3:20).

The author goes on to talk about the Mass as the greatest means of obtaining grace. A few paragraphs later he writes:

The Fathers of the Church state expressly that God rewards with special graces those who hear Mass. St. Cyril says,"Spiritual gifts are freely given to those who assist at Mass reverently." St. Cyprian says, "This supernatural bread and this consecrated chalice are for the health and salvation of mankind." Pope Innocent III says "Through the power of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, all virtues are increased in us, and we obtain a plenteous share of the fruits of grace." "Christians should never neglect Holy Mass," says St Maximus, "because of the grace of the Holy Ghost, of which all who are present are made partakers." Fornerus declares positively: "The potency of the merits of Christ's Passion is most forcibly felt in Holy Mass in procuring for us graces and celestial riches in marvelous abundance." Thus the Fathers of the Church bear unequivocal testimony to the fact that divine grace is poured out richly, copiously, on all who assist at Mass.

So, my friends, the road to Heaven is paved with grace. And it isn't that hard to stay in a state of grace; Go to confession, attend Mass regularly; daily if possible; and consciously avoid situations that cause you to sin.

Friday, August 1, 2008

St. Alphonsus Maria De Ligouri

Today is the feast day of this great saint and Doctor of the Church. In "The Incredible Catholic Mass" it tells us that we can offer Mass to honour saints; at the elevation of the Host, offer the Son of God to His Eternal Father for the greater glory and joy of a particular saint. So today, I am going to First Friday Mass and am offering it for St Alphonsus. Also, here is the Litany for him:
(Copy this to a prayer file if you would like; this one is rare and hard to find in print)

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord have mercy on us. Christ hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Virgin Immaculate, pray for us.
St Alphonsus, model of piety from tenderest youth, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, scourge of heresies, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, defender of the Catholic faith, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, always occupied in evangelizing the poor, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, tender comforter of the afflicted, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, instructed in the Divine art of converting sinners, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, enlightened guide in the path of perfection, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, who became all things to all men, to gain all for Jesus Christ, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, new ornament of the Religious state, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, bold champion of ecclesiastical discipline, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, model of submission and devotion to the Sovereign Pontiff, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, who didst watch unceasingly over the flock committed to thee, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, full of solicitude for the common good of the church, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, glory of the Priesthood and the Episcopate, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, shining mirror of all virtues, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, full of tenderest love for the infant Jesus, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, inflamed with Divine love while offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, fervent adorer of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, penetrated with lively compassion while meditating on the sufferings of our Divine Saviour, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, specially devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, favored by apparitions of the Mother of God, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, leading an angelic life, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, a true patriarch in thy paternal solicitude for the people of God, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, endowed with the gift of prophecy and miracles, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, an Apostle by the extent and fruit of thy labors, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, a Martyr by thy austerities, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, a Confessor by thy writings full of the Spirit of God, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, a virgin by thy purity of soul and body, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, a model of Missionaries, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, founder of the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer, pray for us.
St. Alphonsus, our tender father and powerful protector, pray for us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Pray for us, St. Alphonsus,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray.
O God, Who by the blessed Alphonsus Maria, Thy Confessor and Bishop, inflamed with zeal for souls, has enriched Thy Church with a new progeny: we beseech Thee, that taught by his saving counsels, and strengthened by his example, we may happily come to Thee. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.