Monday, March 31, 2008

Remebering Terri Schiavo


NEW YORK, Dec. 10 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation and Priests for Life have jointly announced the establishment of the "International Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Terri Schindler Schiavo, and All of Our Vulnerable Brothers and Sisters" ("Terri's Day"), to be observed each year on March 31, the date of Terri's death.

The purpose of the day, the groups explained, is to foster education, prayer, and activism regarding discrimination against the disabled, and advocacy for people in situations similar to what Terri and her family faced

Fr. Frank Pavone said, "Those of us who were with Terri will never forget her life and her death. For the sake of all the vulnerable, it is critically important that those who never knew Terri likewise remember the lessons that God taught us through her."

Suzanne Vitadamo, Terri's sister, adds "No family should ever have to witness what my family witnessed, watching a loved one slowly dehydrate to death. We want Terri's day to remind us all that persons with disabilities are never burdens and should be treated with nothing but our unconditional love and compassion."

In the early weeks of 2008, educational and prayer materials will be released that can be used by parishes, disability and pro-life groups and all communities to observe Terri's Day.

Priests for Life is the largest Catholic organization exclusively dedicated to fighting abortion and euthanasia.

Terri's Foundation is dedicated to promoting the Culture of Life, embracing the true meaning of compassion by opposing the practice of euthanasia.
Sancta Familia notes that today is the first day this annual rememberence has been observed.

To Jesus Through Mary


Marian devotion is a wonderful aspect of our Church. Did you know, though, that there is a specific way that people can live their lives for Jesus through Mary, Our Blessed Mother? St. Louis Marie de Montfort created a theology revolving around this concept. He stressed that the quickest way to Jesus is to go to Mary. After all, She is His Mother, the Queen of Heaven, and Our Mother also. Plus, She is the only human (besides Jesus) to be immaculately conceived. Therefore, Montfort said that the most humble way to pray is through Her.

Likewise, Montfort spoke about being slaves of Jesus by becoming slaves of His Blessed Mother. One of the best ways to do this is by making an official consecration to Her.

St. Louis de Montfort suggested taking 33 days as a preparation period for this consecxration, and renewing this consecration through the same prepartions each year. Each of the 33 days consists of readings and prayers.
This consecration starts with twelve preliminary days, which help one to recognize the spirit of the world. This is followed by three weeks dedicated to growing in the knowledge of 1) ourselves, 2) Mary, and 3) Jesus Christ.

St. Louis Marie de Montfort's Prayer to Mary :

Hail Mary, beloved Daughter of the Eternal Father. Hail Mary, admirable Mother of the Son. Hail Mary, faithful Spouse of the Holy Ghost. Hail Mary, my Mother, my loving Mistress, my powerful sov­ereign.

Hail, my joy, my glory, my heart and my soul. Thou art all mine by mercy, and I am thine by jus­tice. But I am not yet sufficiently thine, I now give myself wholly to thee without keeping anything back for myself or others. If thou seest anything in me which does not belong to thee, I beseech thee to take it and make thyself the absolute Mistress of all that is mine.

Destroy in me all that may displease God; root it up and bring it to nought. Place and cultivate in me everything that is pleasing to thee. May the light of thy faith dispel the darkness of my mind. May thy profound humility take the place of my pride; may thy sublime contemplation check the distractions of my wandering imagination. May the continuous sight of God fill my memory with His presence; may the burning love of thy heart inflame the luke­warmness of mine. May thy virtues take the place of my sins; may thy merits be my only adornment in the sight of God and make up for all that is wanting in me.

Finally, dearly beloved Mother, grant, if it be possible, that I may have no other spirit but thine to know Jesus, and His Divine Will; that I may have no other soul but thine to praise and glorify God; that I may have no other heart but thine to love God with a love as pure and ardent as thine.

I do not ask thee for visions, revelations, sensi­ble devotions, or spiritual pleasures. It is thy privi­lege to see God clearly, it is thy privilege to enjoy heavenly bliss; it is thy privilege to triumph glori­ously in heaven at the right hand of thy Son and to hold absolute sway over angels, men and demons. It is thy privilege to dispose of all the gifts of God, just as thou willest. Such, 0 heavenly Mary, the 'best part', which the Lord has given thee, and which shall never be taken away from thee - and this thought fills my heart with joy.

As for my part here below; I wish for no other than that which was thine, to believe sincerely without spiritual plea­sures, to suffer joyfully without human consolation, to die continually to myself without respite, and to work zealously and unselfishly for thee until death, as the humblest of thy servants. The only grace I beg thee, for me, is that every moment of the day, and every moment of my life, I may say "Amen, so be it, to all that thou art doing in heaven. Amen, so be it, to all thou didst do while on earth. Amen, so be it, to all thou art doing in my soul," so that thou alone mayest fully glorify Jesus in me for time and eternity. Amen.

Feast of the Annunciation


We are all called to do God's will. He created us and His will is always the best for each of our lives.

When Christ came into the world, He said, "Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God.
Hebrews 10:5-7

Today, the Church recalls another instance, par excellance, in which God's will was perfectly fulfilled. This is seen in the Annunciation, in which Our Lady obediently said "yes" to God's will and conceived and bore Our Savior in her virginal womb. Further, it is evident that this event was so important in the life of the Blessed Mother that the Archangel Gabriel calls her not by her ordinary name "Mary." Rather, he calls Her "Full of Grace," thus acknowledging Her own Immaculate Conception. True to the rest of the Bible, a person's name was changed whenever God called him or her to a special task/vocation. This is why a pope changes his name upon being elected and nuns traditionally receive a new name, also.

Next, let's examine the response of Our Lady. "Be it done unto me according to thy word." Mary does not hesitate, but instantly accepts the will of God. Her joyful submission should become a model for the rest of us to follow. As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, God calls each of us to a vocation--religious, married, or a consecrated single state in life. This call has within it a special grace, for it is truly a gift from God. Consequently, we must not be afraid to embrace God's Holy will for our lives. God will make His will fit perfectly with our freedom.

Mary, give us the grace necessary to joyfully and promptly respond to God's will for our lives, now and always.

Fernandez, In Conversation with God, vol 6, 175-187

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Divine Mercy


In 1998, as a Freshman in college, I was introduced to a new devotion-the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. I had seen this in a Pieta prayerbook before, but had never prayed it. I had a chance to recite it one evening with a Marian prayer group, and I instantly fell in love with the devotion.

Later, this same group began celebrating the Feast of Divine Mercy by starting the novena on Good Friday, watching a movie about the life of Saint Faustina, helping in a soup kitchen on Divine Mercy Sunday, praying the Chaplet together at 3 O'clock, and having refreshments afterwards.

Just today, being the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, I bought a copy of the Diary. A priest from the Fathers of Mercy recommended that people read 3 paragraphs of it daily. I treasure this diary and devotion greatly. The following is more information regarding Saint Faustina and the Chaplet:

Saint Faustina Kowalska was a young nun who lived in the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Cracow, Poland, during the 1930s. She wrote a diary based upon visions she received from Jesus Himself, who revealed to her the message of His love and infinite mercy towards sinners who come to Him with repentance. He also wishes us to practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy towards others.

"I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it.

I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor:the first — by deed, the second — by word, the third — by prayer. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy. Many souls ... are often worried because they do not have the material means with which to carry out an act of mercy. Yet spiritual mercy, which requires neither permissions nor storehouses, is much more meritorious and is within the grasp of every soul. If a soul does not exercise mercy somehow or other, it will not obtain My mercy on the day of judgment. Oh, if only souls knew how to gather eternal treasure for themselves, they would not be judged, for they would forestall My judgment with their mercy" (1317).

Saint Faustina became Jesus' Apostle of Divine Mercy although she was uneducated. Saint Faustina wrote a diary more than 600 pages long, called Divine Mercy in My Soul. Jesus wished for a new devotion to be created in the Church, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. This prayer is best prayed at the 3 O'Clock hour - that is, the hour in which He expired for our sins. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is to be prayed using regular rosary beeds. On the first three Hail Mary beeds, an Our Father, Hail Mary, and an Apostles' Creed is to be prayed. Next, on the regular "Our Father" beads, the following prayer is said

Eternal Father, I offer you the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins, and those of the whole world.

Similarly, on the "Hail Mary" beads, one is to say the following
For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world.

Diary, 475

At the end of the prayer, the following is added

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One! Have mercy on us and on the Whole world." (3X)

Jesus also encouraged a novena to be prayed starting on Good Friday and leading up to the Feast of Divine Mercy (The second Sunday of Easter). Pope John Paul II canonized Saint Faustina in 2000.

Here is a link to more information regarding this devotion:

As our culture turns more secular and away from Him, let us pray that God will indeed have mercy on us!