Thursday, November 30, 2017

Fr. Robert Barron comments on C. S. Lewis

Mother Teresa's Quick Novena

The Quick Novena was, so to speak, Mother Teresa’s spiritual rapid-fire weapon. It consisted of ten Memorares—not nine, as you might expect from the word “novena”… Given the host of problems that were brought to Mother Teresa’s attention, not to mention the pace at which she traveled, it was often just not possible to allow nine days for an answer from Celestial Management. And so she invented the Quick Novena.

Mother Teresa used this prayer constantly: for petitions for the cure of a sick child, before important discussions or when passports went missing, to request heavenly aid when the fuel supply was running short on a nighttime mission…

The reason why Mother Teresa always prayed ten Memorares, though, is that she took the collaboration of heaven so much for granted that she always added a tenth Memorare immediately, in thanksgiving for the favor received.

—From Msgr. Leo Maasburg’s book, “Mother Teresa of Calcutta: A Personal Portrait”. Learn more about this book or purchase at www.MotherTeresaStories.com

Novena to The Immaculate Conception: Day 2

No one could adequately describe Don Bosco's love for Our Lady. His devotion to her came second only to his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and he continually fostered it with visible filial love, whether preaching, hearing confessions, or talking informally. He seemed to live only for her. He often visited her shrines, and he always had a supply of medals and holy pictures to give away especially to children. As they crowded about him, he urged them to wear the medals devoutly and pray every day to the Blessed Virgin.

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
our Life, our Sweetness, and our Hope.
To Thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To Thee do we send up our sighs mourning
and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate,
Thine Eyes of Mercy toward us,
and after this our exile show us the
Blessed Fruit of thy Womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.


O Mary, conceived without sin
Pray for us who have recourse to thee!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Novena to the Immaculate Conception: Day 1

For Don Bosco the promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception had been the answer to many prayers and Masses he had said to hasten this long awaited definition. Now he continued to pray to and thank the Lord for having so glorified the Queen of Angels and men. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception became his favorite feast!

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
our Life, our Sweetness, and our Hope.
To Thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To Thee do we send up our sighs mourning
and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate,
Thine Eyes of Mercy toward us,
and after this our exile show us the
Blessed Fruit of thy Womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.


O Mary, conceived without sin
Pray for us who have recourse to thee!

Monday, November 27, 2017

St. Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal


This vignette of the apparition of Our Lady to St. Catherine Laboure on the occasion of her request for the Medal was produced by the Franciscans of the Immaculate in conjunction with Susan Mackewich of Gizmo Productions and Dave Wroe. We include this segment on the happy occasion of the start of Air Maria and on the Feast of the Annunciation of the Archangel St. Michael to Our Lady resulting in the blessed Incarnation of the Son of God. This will also serve to introduce our series on the Miraculous Medal, hosted by Fr. Elias Mary, FI and Dave Wroe on the many miracles attributed to this medal.

The following comes from the Patron Saints Index:

Ninth of eleven children born to a farm family, and from an early age Catherine felt a call to the religious life. Never learned to read or write. Forced to take over running the house at age eight after her mother died and her older sister joined the Sisters of Charity. Worked as a waitress in her uncle’s cafe in Paris, France. Upon entering a hospital run by the Sisters of Charity she received a vision in which Saint Vincent de Paul told her that God wanted her to work with the sick, and she later joined the Order, taking the name Catherine.

On 18 July 1830 she had a vision of Our Lady who described to her a medal which she wished struck. On one side it has the image of Our Lady, and the words, “O Mary, conceived wthout sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee”; on the other are the hearts of Jesus and Mary. Our Lady told Catherine that wearers of the medal would receive great graces, it has become known as the Miraculous Medal, and its wearing and devotion has spread worldwide. Miracles reported at her tomb.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Devotion of Blessed Solanus Casey

The following comes from the Catholic Exchange:


Thank God ahead of time.  This sentence nearly leapt off the page of a thin book of collected quotes by Father Solanus Casey that I purchased at the St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit.  I was a young college student, and my faith was in its springtime as I embraced my singlehood to grow and mature in everything related to Catholicism.  I only ended up at the Capuchin monastery, because my mother had invited me to a one-day pilgrimage there.  Having never heard of Father Solanus before that day, I eagerly accepted her invitation without expectation of what might happen or how I might be inspired.
But Father Solanus’s life changed mine that day as I traced his footsteps through the building, feeling his presence strongly with me.  It was as if Father Solanus came to life that day, and everything biographical about him captivated me in an instant.  His writings, too, were simple and yet incredibly profound.  I knew I met a kindred saint that day, despite the fact that he was not even beatified.
My mother’s interest in Father Solanus began with a casual conversation with her friend who owned the local Catholic bookstore in our area.  He explained that Father Solanus spent quite a bit of time in his later years living in our diocese, which piqued her interest further.  Then she heard some amusing personal stories from friends whose parents had known him, and somehow the camaraderie between Father Solanus and my mom was sealed.
I knew that day as I pondered his life and legacy why my mom asked me to join her.  The depth of my affinity towards this plain and quiet Franciscan perplexed me at first, mostly because I was the scholarly type who enjoyed intellectual debates and analyzing research in my spare time.  Father Solanus was nothing like me, but I was drawn to him.  I wanted to be more like him spiritually: poor in spirit and pure of heart.
After that pilgrimage, I began to ask for Father Solanus’s intercession, but only sporadically.  College and then graduate studies overwhelmed and distracted me, but his memory remained captured in my psyche.  From time to time I would wonder rhetorically (and silently), How can I be like Father Solanus?  How can I grow in such humility and with joy in being considered nothing?
You see, Father Solanus scrubbed the toilets at the monastery not only without complaint but, in fact, with great interior peace and joy.  I couldn’t fathom doing such a thing were I in his position, because my pride was too great.  But Father Solanus accepted what was given to him – whether it was bodily injury or a menial and demeaning task – with incredible resignation to the Divine Will.  He gave all to and for God.  That is what attracted me to his charism.
Years later, I found myself masked in darkness as I faced a dreaded c-section with our second daughter, Sarah, after an intense 24-hour labor.  My pride in shambles, I wept openly in front of perfect strangers who prepped me for the operation.  My heart was inconsolable, yet somewhere in the abyss of my fear, a tiny voice said to me, Say a prayer to Father Solanus.
Instantly I offered a silent supplication to my Capuchin friend in Heaven, and my heart was still and quiet.  I sensed a Heavenly presence, though I uttered not a word to a single person, including my husband, Ben.  And the operation not only went flawlessly, but I was told by the on-call obstetrician that it was “miraculous.” 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Chris Stefanick on the Mass


Friday, November 10, 2017

The Question for Our Age: “Quo Vadis?”

The following comes from the Catholic World Report:


Secular liberalism is at odds with Catholicism. The point seemed obvious to most people until the postwar period, when the thought took hold that an essentially harmonious relationship could be established that would draw on the American model. America, it seemed, was different from Europe with its long tradition of statism and anti-clericalism. It rejected an established church, but embraced religious freedom, an active and diverse civil society, and a limited and decentralized government that did not try to dominate culture and gave the Church the protection and freedom she needed to thrive.

The attempt to establish a harmonious relation with the liberal state has been less fruitful than hoped, and even in America has run into profound difficulties. Our government and other authoritative institutions have become more centralized and more concerned with remodeling all aspects of life, including the beliefs and attitudes of the people. We are becoming more like Europe, and to make matters worse the outlook of the governing classes on both sides of the Atlantic has moved in a direction radically opposed to both religion and natural law. Throughout the Western world, Catholics and Catholic institutions are increasingly required to conform to anti-Catholic norms, and in much of it you can be punished as a criminal for public assertion of Catholic moral doctrine.

The intolerance is aimed less at Catholicism in particular, although the Church is a highly-visible target, than any form of Christianity that does not reduce without remainder to progressive politics and private therapy. We are increasingly ruled by practical utopians who believe themselves comprehensively responsible for human relations, and their efforts leave no place for an independent and refractory organization like the Church that proposes a contrary vision that now counts as intrinsically antisocial and oppressive.

So where will the present situation lead if—as seems quite possible—our secular authorities continue on their present course? Will the blood of the martyrs once again be the seed of the Church, or will multiplying restrictions and disabilities wear down Catholic life until the Church all but disappears?

Many societies have been anti-Catholic. How effective their anti-Catholicism has been has depended on the nature of the society and its guiding principles. Roman society, for example, had nothing to propose that could fill the needs Christianity satisfied, and the Roman empire was more loosely organized and its activities more limited than modern states. As a result, Roman persecutions, however savage they might be, were mostly local, sporadic, and ineffectual. By the time the Romans saw a need for comprehensive enforcement of religious loyalty the Christians were too strong and the empire too divided for the policy to be effective.

Some of the Church’s more recent opponents have been more organized, focused, steady, and successful. The Muslims eliminated Catholicism from North Africa, the home of Cyprian and Augustine, and the Protestants did much the same over large stretches of Europe. They were able to do so because the governments they established had more comprehensive concerns than the Roman government did, they took the issue of religious unity more seriously, and they stood for principles that had the broad-based appeal and staying power needed to establish themselves at least somewhat durably among the people.

In the last century the most severe attacks were carried on by secular systems that functioned as religions but excluded transcendent truth and authority. The attacks were organized and focused to the point of fanaticism, and they often led to widespread martyrdom of clergy and ordinary believers, as with the radically anticlerical regimes in Mexico and Spain and the totalitarian regimes that ruled Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and their respective empires.

Those attacks were not enduringly effective because the regimes carrying them on were too much at odds with human nature and with the societies they dominated for their vision to endure. Thus, for example, religious belief has bounced back in Russia, and Christianity is making unprecedented advances in China. Both countries had been searching for some sort of guiding principle, and when communism failed Christianity stepped into the gap. (In regions like East Germany and the Czech Republic, where communism was imposed from outside on a society in which religion was already weak, Soviet domination does seem to have accelerated the loss of faith.)

It appears, then, that as a human matter suppression of Catholicism is likely to work if the system that carries it on endures, takes the effort seriously, and offers a reasonably appealing way of life that provides somewhat of a substitute for what is suppressed.

So what does that mean in the case of secular liberalism, assuming it remains as ideological a system as it now seems? It has been enormously successful as a practical matter, and the way of life it offers evidently appeals to a great many people. Further, its opposition to Catholicism has become much more serious and active during the post-60s period. The result is that it has been very successful in changing religious views and weakening Church authority among the laity and even among many clergy and religious.

Given all that, the obvious question as to the future of Catholicism in the West, humanly speaking, is how much staying power secular liberalism will have, and whether it will maintain its appeal to ordinary people. Luckily for Catholics (and for humanity in general), those requirements bring weak points of the liberal system into focus. Secular liberalism makes maximum equal satisfaction its highest good. That principle is what gives it popular appeal, but it means ever-greater demands on public resources, since people require more and more to be satisfied, and it also means ever-less discipline, loyalty, and public spirit to support the system, since it undermines ideals of love and sacrifice.

Secular liberalism lacks a grounded principle of authority, and its aspiration to universal satisfaction makes it adverse to widespread use of threats and force. As a result, its basic method for maintaining control is a system of payoffs, propaganda, and ever-more comprehensive regulation. That method has mostly been rather successful. Material benefits have been funded through the extraordinary productivity of capitalist economies in a technological age, propaganda facilitated by alliance with the mass media and the expertise and training industry (otherwise known as the educational system), and regulation made effective by a comparatively high degree of bureaucratic discipline and efficiency.

None of those resources are infinite or everlasting. Organizational discipline and efficiency don’t sit well with an emphasis on equal satisfaction, so they are unlikely to be maintained. Also, it is becoming harder and harder to fund public programs or provide individuals with satisfactory employment, so much so that public finance has been reduced to an endless series of short-term expedients that everyone knows cannot go on forever. When the money runs out, people start feeling real economic pressure, and the government is unable and seems unwilling to do anything for them, will they keep on believing what they are told? Why should they, when the basis of what they have been told is that they have a right to get what they want?

So it seems that during the coming decades it will be increasingly difficult for secular liberalism to maintain itself among the people as a minimally satisfying system of practice and belief. Still, historical change is generally slow, and liberalism has been very effective at weakening its competitors, so it is likely to be with us in an ever-less appealing and successful form for some time to come. The best analogy to the period we may have before us is therefore the Brezhnev era in the Soviet Union. Catholics can expect any number of petty restraints and stupid oppressions, but no terror, and less and less real belief in the official system. As a result, we can very likely expect a fertile field for Christian witness and for the growth of new forms of Christian life and revival of very old ones.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Prayer of St. Bernard for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Devotion of St. Bernard to the Shoulder Wound of Jesus

Releases many souls from purgatory each time it is prayed.

O Loving Jesus, meek Lamb of God, I a miserable sinner, salute and worship the most Sacred Wound of Your Shoulder on which You bore Your heavy Cross, which so tore Your Flesh and laid bare Your Bones as to inflict on You an anguish greater than any other Wound of Your Most Blessed Body. I adore You, O Jesus most sorrowful; I praise and glorify You and give You thanks for this most sacred and painful Wound, beseeching You by the crushing burden of Your heavy Cross to be merciful to the souls in purgatory and to me, a sinner, to forgive me all my mortal and venial sins, and to lead me on towards Heaven along the Way of Your Cross. Amen.