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Sunday, December 31, 2006
Editing of My Page on the Mass
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Today I sat down and added a lot of information to my post on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I did this in hopes that it will be a good resource to educate non-Catholics. I would appreciate any feedback on the editions to that page.
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Catholic Resolutions 2007
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With today being New Years Eve, it's time for me to reflect on my Catholic Resolutions for 2006 and make mine for 2007. As I posted about last year...

2006 Catholic Resolutions:
1) Pray the Morning prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours each weekday
2) Pray the Rosary at least once a week
3) Visit other Catholic churches around me and meet other priests and people
4) Read the entire Bible in 1 year
5) Read the readings for Mass each morning

2006 Resolution Results:

1) This is the one that I focused most on, and I've exceeded beyond my previous goal. This past June I purchased "Christian Prayer", which made praying the Liturgy of the Hours so easy. Now I do not just pray Morning Prayer but also Evening Prayer and sometimes Night Prayer. With my desire to become a priest, this was a great preparation, so I'm excited that I've exceeded on this goal. I've kept a calendar where I wrote each time I pray the Liturgy of the Hours. After I purchased "Chrisitian Prayer", one can see how much more I can pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Now I can leave the computer screen and pray outside, in the chapel, etc. I will certainly keep praying morning and evening prayer each day now.

2) I did fairly well with this. I didn't pray the Rosary very often during Autumn this year because of classes, but I prayed it last week. In the summer I prayed it each day especially when I started my 54-day Rosary this past year. It was a great success! Overall, I would say that I succeeded in this Resolution

3) I did an excellent job with this. On the Feastday of St. Blase I visited a beautiful church near me. This past June I was honored to spend time at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Missouri. In November I toured the Cathedral in St. Paul, Minnesota, which is the most beautiful church I've ever seen. Even this past Christmas, I assisted as an altar server at midnight Mass. I definitely succeeded in this Resolution

4) I was able to read all of the First five books of the Old Testament (The Pentateuch), but I didn't get any further than that. Perhaps I should try this again in 2007.

5) I did a decent job at this Resolution especially over the summer. With classes that began in September, I was unable to keep doing this. But, thankfully the daily Mass readings are now on podcasts. I downloaded it to I-Tunes a few weeks ago and listened to them everyday that I didn't get a chance to go to Mass. I've did a good job with this Resolution.

2007 Catholic Resolutions:

1) Finish my application process to enter a seminary, get accepted by my diocese, and start at a college seminary in the fall of 2007.
2) Pray the 15 Prayers of St. Bridget each day or as often as possible
3) Find and purchase a Traditional Catholic Prayer Book and a 1962 Roman Missal
4) Attend my first Tridentine Mass
5) Seek to grow spiritually and avoid all of the sins that I have committed often in the past
6) Read classic spirituality books including "Story of a Soul" by St. Therese of Lisieux
7) Read all of the New Testament

I hope my readers will also create Catholic Resolutions, not just New Years Resolutions.
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Prayer to Prevent One Mortal Sin
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I suggest praying this each day
O Mary, Immaculate Mother of Jesus, we beseech thee, offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, to prevent at least one mortal sin from being committed somewhere in the world today. Amen.
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Saturday, December 30, 2006
Pray for the Soul of Fr. Carlo Ly
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I ask for your prayers for the repose of the soul of Fr. Carlo Ly (1925 - 2006), who was said to be a very holy priest.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Image Source: Photo of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Believed to be in the Public Domain
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New Years Indulgences
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If you don't know what an indulgence is or how to get one, please view my Indulgences post.

December 31 Indulgence: A PLENARY INDULGENCE is granted when the Te Deum is recited publicly on the last day of the year. Otherwise a partial indulgence is granted to those who recite the Te Deum in thanksgiving.

January 1 Indulgence: A PLENARY INDULGENCE is granted when the Veni, Creator Spiritus is recited on the first of January or Pentecost.
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Saint for the Year Update
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With the Christmas and New Years Celebrations, I have not been able to recently contact the person who is kind enough to pull the saints for the Saint for the Year Devotion. I appreciate everyone's patience. I hope to have more results in the next few days. Thank you for understanding.

Also, this is my 2000th post to this blog! This is a terrific milestone!
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Friday, December 29, 2006
Pope St. Anicetus
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Simple (1955 Calendar): April 17

Pope St. Anicetus was the 11th pope, who reigned from c. 154 - c. 167 AD. St. Anicetus's papacy was marked by a conflict with the Christians under St. Polycarp of Smyrna, who wanted to celebrate Easter three days after Passover. The Church since the time of St. Peter had instead always ensured the celebration of Easter would be on a Sunday. To alleviate the situation, Pope St. Anicetus allowed the Christians under St. Polycarp to celebrate Easter their way. Those childrens continued to do so until the Council of Nicea, which suppressed such practices.

Pope St. Anicetus also forbade priests from having long hair because the Gnostics at this time were characterized by their long hair. It was a decree that allowed the faithful to recognize the difference between the Gnostics and the orthodox Christians. Also in the papacy of St. Anicetus, Montanism was finally condemned. It was a heresy of the time with many differences with Catholicism - Catholicism is the original and true form of Christianity. Most notable of all the adherents to Montanism was Tertullian, the famous Early Christian writer who fell into such heresy later in his life.

He died in c. 167 AD, and his feastday is April 17.

Prayer:

Look forgivingly on Thy flock, Eternal Shepherd, and keep it in Thy constant protection, by the intercession of blessed Anicetus, Thy Martyr and Sovereign Pontiff, who Thou didst constitute Shepherd of the whole Church. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Gospel: December 29, 2006
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December 29, 2006
Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas

Memorial of St. Thomas Becket, bishop and martyr

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses,
the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you prepared in the sight of every people, a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Lk 2:22-35

This reading is the account of the Presentation of Jesus, which the Church will celebrate on February 2nd. Today is the Fifth day in the Octave of Christmas. And based upon this reading, we can again meditate on Jesus's birth - He was born to die. And we can meditate on the example of Mary and Joseph.
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Thursday, December 28, 2006
Feast of the Holy Innocents
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Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents and the 4th Day of Christmas. It is a great time to start a novena for the unborn. For more information on today's feastday, see my post from last year.
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Words of Inspiration: December 28, 2006
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"Jesus calls the poor and simple shepherds by means of angels to manifest Himself to them. He calls the learned men by means of their science. And all of them moved interiorly by grace hasten to adore Him. He calls all of us with divine inspirations and He communicates Himself to us with His Grace. How many times has He not lovingly invited us also? And with what promptitude have we replied? My God I blush and am filled with confusion at having to reply to such a question" (St. Padre Pio)

PS: I would like to ask all readers to pray for a special intention of mine. God knows what it is. I would appreciate your prayers. Thank you.
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Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Review: Ordinary Work, Extraordinary Grace
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I have just read and greating enjoyed "Ordinary Work, Extraordinary Grace: My Spiritual Journey in Opus Dei" by Scott Hahn, which is about Opus Dei. Opus Dei is currently the only personal prelate of the Church. Opus Dei's spiritual foundation is divine filiation, the theological term is based off of 1 John 3:2 meaning "We are God's children". Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is also God Himself. Yet, through divine filiation we have a share in His sonship. We share not an eternal sonship like Jesus but rather one created by the grace of God through our baptism.

Page 17 states the central concept very well: "This seems paradoxical: the finite contains the infinite. But it is God Himself who made this possible, by assuming human flesh in Jesus Christ. In doing so, He humanized His divinity, but He also divinized humanity, and thus sanctified - made holy - everything that fills up a human life: friendship, meals, family, travel, study, and work."

Thus, Opus Dei is about the sanctification of all aspects of our daily lives. Through a deep prayer like that includes the Mass, Rosary, Liturgy of the Hours, etc along with doing all things in great love, we grow closer to God. For Jesus taught us an example to follow, and we should realize that He too worked continuously to proclaim the Gospel. Work is something that can be made holy.

This book is highly recommended to those interested in Opus Dei.  I have read both positive and negative things on Opus Dei. Please do not base all of your opinions about the organization solely on this book. Several books concerning Opus Dei have already been added to the comment box below by readers. I suggest reading other books on the subject before coming to a conclusion on the organziation.

Note: This book has a Nihil Obstat by Reverend Michael F. Hull, STD, Censor Librorum. It has an Imprimatur by Most Reverend Robert A. Brucato.

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Feastday of St. John
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Today is the Feast of St. John the Evangelist as well as the 3rd day in the Octave of Christmas. See my post from last year for more information.
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Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Feast of St. Stephen
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Today is the Second Day in the Octave of Christmas as well as the Feast of St. Stephen. See my post on St. Stephen for prayers and more information.
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Monday, December 25, 2006
Christmas 2006: Urbi et Orbi
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Here is the text of Pope Benedict XVI's Urbi et Orbi Address, which is given on Christmas Day and Easter each year by the Holy Father:
"Salvator noster natus est in mundo" (Roman Missal)

"Our Saviour is born to the world!" During the night, in our Churches, we again heard this message that, notwithstanding the passage of the centuries, remains ever new. It is the heavenly message that tells us to fear not, for "a great joy" has come "to all the people" (Lk 1:10). It is a message of hope, for it tells us that, on that night over two thousand years ago, there "was born in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord" (Lk 2:11). The Angel of Christmas announced it then to the shepherds out on the hills of Bethlehem; today the Angel repeats it to us, to all who dwell in our world: "The Saviour is born; he is born for you! Come, come, let us adore him!".

But does a "Saviour" still have any value and meaning for the men and women of the third millennium ? Is a "Saviour" still needed by a humanity which has reached the moon and Mars and is prepared to conquer the universe; for a humanity which knows no limits in its pursuit of nature’s secrets and which has succeeded even in deciphering the marvellous codes of the human genome? Is a Saviour needed by a humanity which has invented interactive communication, which navigates in the virtual ocean of the internet and, thanks to the most advanced modern communications technologies, has now made the Earth, our great common home, a global village? This humanity of the twenty-first century appears as a sure and self-sufficient master of its own destiny, the avid proponent of uncontested triumphs.

So it would seem, yet this is not the case. People continue to die of hunger and thirst, disease and poverty, in this age of plenty and of unbridled consumerism. Some people remain enslaved, exploited and stripped of their dignity; others are victims of racial and religious hatred, hampered by intolerance and discrimination, and by political interference and physical or moral coercion with regard to the free profession of their faith. Others see their own bodies and those of their dear ones, particularly their children, maimed by weaponry, by terrorism and by all sorts of violence, at a time when everyone invokes and acclaims progress, solidarity and peace for all. And what of those who, bereft of hope, are forced to leave their homes and countries in order to find humane living conditions elsewhere? How can we help those who are misled by facile prophets of happiness, those who struggle with relationships and are incapable of accepting responsibility for their present and future, those who are trapped in the tunnel of loneliness and who often end up enslaved to alcohol or drugs? What are we to think of those who choose death in the belief that they are celebrating life?

How can we not hear, from the very depths of this humanity, at once joyful and anguished, a heart-rending cry for help? It is Christmas: today "the true light that enlightens every man" (Jn 1:9) came into the world. "The word became flesh and dwelt among us" (Jn 1:14), proclaims the Evangelist John. Today, this very day, Christ comes once more "unto his own", and to those who receive him he gives "the power to become children of God"; in a word, he offers them the opportunity to see God’s glory and to share the joy of that Love which became incarnate for us in Bethlehem. Today "our Saviour is born to the world", for he knows that even today we need him. Despite humanity’s many advances, man has always been the same: a freedom poised between good and evil, between life and death. It is there, in the very depths of his being, in what the Bible calls his "heart", that man always needs to be "saved". And, in this post-modern age, perhaps he needs a Saviour all the more, since the society in which he lives has become more complex and the threats to his personal and moral integrity have become more insidious. Who can defend him, if not the One who loves him to the point of sacrificing on the Cross his only-begotten Son as the Saviour of the world?

"Salvator noster": Christ is also the Saviour of men and women today. Who will make this message of hope resound, in a credible way, in every corner of the earth? Who will work to ensure the recognition, protection and promotion of the integral good of the human person as the condition for peace, respecting each man and every woman and their proper dignity? Who will help us to realize that with good will, reasonableness and moderation it is possible to avoid aggravating conflicts and instead to find fair solutions? With deep apprehension I think, on this festive day, of the Middle East, marked by so many grave crises and conflicts, and I express my hope that the way will be opened to a just and lasting peace, with respect for the inalienable rights of the peoples living there. I place in the hands of the divine Child of Bethlehem the indications of a resumption of dialogue between the Israelis and Palestinians, which we have witnessed in recent days, and the hope of further encouraging developments. I am confident that, after so many victims, destruction and uncertainty, a democratic Lebanon, open to others and in dialogue with different cultures and religions, will survive and progress. I appeal to all those who hold in their hands the fate of Iraq, that there will be an end to the brutal violence that has brought so much bloodshed to the country, and that every one of its inhabitants will be safe to lead a normal life. I pray to God that in Sri Lanka the parties in conflict will heed the desire of the people for a future of brotherhood and solidarity; that in Darfur and throughout Africa there will be an end to fratricidal conflicts, that the open wounds in that continent will quickly heal and that the steps being made towards reconciliation, democracy and development will be consolidated. May the Divine Child, the Prince of Peace, grant an end to the outbreaks of tension that make uncertain the future of other parts of the world, in Europe and in Latin America.

"Salvator noster": this is our hope; this is the message that the Church proclaims once again this Christmas day. With the Incarnation, as the Second Vatican Council stated, the Son of God has in some way united himself with each man and women (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 22). The birth of the Head is also the birth of the body, as Pope Saint Leo the Great noted. In Bethlehem the Christian people was born, Christ’s mystical body, in which each member is closely joined to the others in total solidarity. Our Saviour is born for all. We must proclaim this not only in words, but by our entire life, giving the world a witness of united, open communities where fraternity and forgiveness reign, along with acceptance and mutual service, truth, justice and love.

A community saved by Christ. This is the true nature of the Church, which draws her nourishment from his Word and his Eucharistic Body. Only by rediscovering the gift she has received can the Church bear witness to Christ the Saviour before all people. She does this with passionate enthusiasm, with full respect for all cultural and religious traditions; she does so joyfully, knowing that the One she proclaims takes away nothing that is authentically human, but instead brings it to fulfilment. In truth, Christ comes to destroy only evil, only sin; everything else, all the rest, he elevates and perfects. Christ does not save us from our humanity, but through it; he does not save us from the world, but came into the world, so that through him the world might be saved (cf. Jn 3:17).

Dear brothers and sisters, wherever you may be, may this message of joy and hope reach your ears: God became man in Jesus Christ, he was born of the Virgin Mary and today he is reborn in the Church. He brings to all the love of the Father in heaven. He is the Saviour of the world! Do not be afraid, open your hearts to him and receive him, so that his Kingdom of love and peace may become the common legacy of each man and woman. Happy Christmas!
Source: Vatican

Image Source: REUTERS/Osservatore Romano/Handout
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Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Midnight Mass
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Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his second Midnight Mass for Christmas as Pope this year. Here is the text of his homily:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We have just heard in the Gospel the message given by the angels to the shepherds during that Holy Night, a message which the Church now proclaims to us: "To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger" (Lk 2:11-12). Nothing miraculous, nothing extraordinary, nothing magnificent is given to the shepherds as a sign. All they will see is a child wrapped in swaddling clothes, one who, like all children, needs a mother's care; a child born in a stable, who therefore lies not in a cradle but in a manger. God's sign is the baby in need of help and in poverty. Only in their hearts will the shepherds be able to see that this baby fulfills the promise of the prophet Isaiah, which we heard in the first reading: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder" (Is 9:5). Exactly the same sign has been given to us. We too are invited by the angel of God, through the message of the Gospel, to set out in our hearts to see the child lying in the manger.

God's sign is simplicity. God's sign is the baby. God's sign is that he makes himself small for us. This is how he reigns. He does not come with power and outward splendor. He comes as a baby defenseless and in need of our help. He does not want to overwhelm us with his strength. He takes away our fear of his greatness. He asks for our love: so he makes himself a child. He wants nothing other from us than our love, through which we spontaneously learn to enter into his feelings, his thoughts and his will we learn to live with him and to practice with him that humility of renunciation that belongs to the very essence of love. God made himself small so that we could understand him, welcome him, and love him. The Fathers of the Church, in their Greek translation of the Old Testament, found a passage from the prophet Isaiah that Paul also quotes in order to show how God's new ways had already been foretold in the Old Testament. There we read: "God made his Word short, he abbreviated it" (Is 10:23; Rom 9:28). The Fathers interpreted this in two ways. The Son himself is the Word, the Logos; the eternal Word became small enough to fit into a manger. He became a child, so that the Word could be grasped by us. In this way God teaches us to love the little ones. In this way he teaches us to love the weak. In this way he teaches us respect for children. The child of Bethlehem directs our gaze toward all children who suffer and are abused in the world, the born and the unborn. Toward children who are placed as soldiers in a violent world; toward children who have to beg; toward children who suffer deprivation and hunger; toward children who are unloved. In all of these it is the Child of Bethlehem who is crying out to us; it is the God who has become small who appeals to us. Let us pray this night that the brightness of God's love may enfold all these children. Let us ask God to help us do our part so that the dignity of children may be respected. May they all experience the light of love, which mankind needs so much more than the material necessities of life.

And so we come to the second meaning that the Fathers saw in the phrase: "God made his Word short". The Word which God speaks to us in Sacred Scripture had become long in the course of the centuries. It became long and complex, not just for the simple and unlettered, but even more so for those versed in Sacred Scripture, for the experts who evidently became entangled in details and in particular problems, almost to the extent of losing an overall perspective. Jesus "abbreviated" the Word he showed us once more its deeper simplicity and unity. Everything taught by the Law and the Prophets is summed up, he says, in the command: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mt 22:37-40). This is everything the whole faith is contained in this one act of love which embraces God and humanity. Yet now further questions arise: how are we to love God with all our mind, when our intellect can barely reach him? How are we to love him with all our heart and soul, when our heart can only catch a glimpse of him from afar, when there are so many contradictions in the world that would hide his face from us? This is where the two ways in which God has "abbreviated" his Word come together. He is no longer distant. He is no longer unknown. He is no longer beyond the reach of our heart. He has become a child for us, and in so doing he has dispelled all doubt. He has become our neighbor, restoring in this way the image of man, whom we often find so hard to love. For us, God has become a gift. He has given himself. He has entered time for us. He who is the Eternal One, above time, he has assumed our time and raised it to himself on high. Christmas has become the Feast of gifts in imitation of God who has given himself to us. Let us allow our heart, our soul and our mind to be touched by this fact! Among the many gifts that we buy and receive, let us not forget the true gift: to give each other something of ourselves, to give each other something of our time, to open our time to God. In this way anxiety disappears, joy is born, and the feast is created. During the festive meals of these days let us remember the Lord's words: "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite those who will invite you in return, but invite those whom no one invites and who are not able to invite you" (cf. Lk 14:12-14). This also means: when you give gifts for Christmas, do not give only to those who will give to you in return, but give to those who receive from no one and who cannot give you anything back. This is what God has done: he invites us to his wedding feast, something which we cannot reciprocate, but can only receive with joy. Let us imitate him! Let us love God and, starting from him, let us also love man, so that, starting from man, we can then rediscover God in a new way!

And so, finally, we find yet a third meaning in the saying that the Word became "brief" and "small". The shepherds were told that they would find the child in a manger for animals, who were the rightful occupants of the stable. Reading Isaiah (1:3), the Fathers concluded that beside the manger of Bethlehem there stood an ox and an ass. At the same time they interpreted the text as symbolizing the Jews and the pagans and thus all humanity who, each in their own way, have need of a Savior: the God who became a child. Man, in order to live, needs bread, the fruit of the earth and of his labor. But he does not live by bread alone. He needs nourishment for his soul: he needs meaning that can fill his life. Thus, for the Fathers, the manger of the animals became the symbol of the altar, on which lies the Bread which is Christ himself: the true food for our hearts. Once again we see how he became small: in the humble appearance of the host, in a small piece of bread, he gives us himself.

All this is conveyed by the sign that was given to the shepherds and is given also to us: the child born for us, the child in whom God became small for us. Let us ask the Lord to grant us the grace of looking upon the crib this night with the simplicity of the shepherds, so as to receive the joy with which they returned home (cf. Lk 2:20). Let us ask him to give us the humility and the faith with which Saint Joseph looked upon the child that Mary had conceived by the Holy Spirit. Let us ask the Lord to let us look upon him with that same love with which Mary saw him. And let us pray that in this way the light that the shepherds saw will shine upon us too, and that what the angels sang that night will be accomplished throughout the world: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased." Amen!

Copyright Vatican Publishing House

Photos:

AFP/Patrick Hertzog

REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi (VATICAN)

Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi (VATICAN)
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St. John Chrysostom's Christmas Homily
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"What shall I say? And how shall I describe this birth to you? The Eternal One has become an infant. He who sits upon the sublime and heavenly throne now lies in the manger. For this He assumed my body, that I may become capable of His word, taking my form He gives me His spirit, and so, He bestowing and I receiving, He prepares me for the treasure of life. He takes my form to sanctify me. He gives me His spirit, that he may save me."
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Christmas Reminder: Pray for Holy Souls
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Today is the day in the year when most souls are released from Purgatory. Please Pray for the Souls in Purgatory today.
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Quotations: Christmas Edition
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"God became a man for this purpose: since you, a human being, could not reach God, but you can reach other humans, you might now reach God through a man. And so the man Christ Jesus became the mediator of God and human beings. God became a man so that following a man--something you are able to do--you might reach God, which was formerly impossible to you" (St Augustine's Commentary on Psalm 134, 5)

"May the Child Jesus be your guiding star in the desert of this present life" (St. Padre Pio).

"Let us follow the star of inspiration and divine attraction which calls us to the crib, and let us go thither to adore and love the Child Jesus and offer ourselves to him" (St. Jane Frances de Chantal).
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Sunday, December 24, 2006
The Christmas Proclamation
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The Christmas Proclamation, which is sung at the beginning of Midnight Mass:

* The twenty-fifth day of December.

* In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;

* the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;

* the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;

* the one thousand five hundred and tenth year from Moses and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;

* the one thousand and thirty-second year from David's being anointed king;

* in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;

* in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;

* the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome;

* the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;

* the whole world being at peace,

* in the sixth age of the world,

* Jesus Christ the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and nine months having passed since his conception,

* was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary, being made flesh.

* The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.
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Christmas Eve: Fasting and Abstience
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Christmas Eve (before the Vigil Mass) is a day of fasting and abstinence. The 1983 Code of Canon Law eliminated this fast altogether, but traditional Catholics still keep the fast, eating seafood (the Italians eat fish -- often seven of them!), noodles, other forms of pasta, etc. for the Christmas Eve Supper.
Note: This doesn't apply when Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday.
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The Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory
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"It is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins." (2nd Machabees 12:46)


Purgatory is real and our prayers can aid the souls in purgatory by lessening their time there. Purgatory is a gift because as the Gospels state, nothing undefiled can enter Heaven (Revelation 21:27). Purgatory is the process of purifying a soul to make it worthy for Heaven. And our prayers, works, joys, sufferings, etc. offered up to God for the intentions of the Holy Souls can ease their detention in purification.

Here is a Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, which was written by Daniel Lord, S.J:
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Holy Souls Novena: Final Day
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Our Lady, Mother Mary, has said that more souls are released from Purgatory on Christmas than any other day in the year.

This novena was written by Daniel Lord, S.J.

Day 9

Joy does not cause the souls in heaven to forget. On the contrary joy makes them more alive to memory. The soul that has entered into bliss does not for a second forget the generous friends on earth who helped him reach God and glory. Now a saint in heaven, he uses to the full his power of intercession.

He prays God to be merciful and generous to the generous. By name he mentions to Christ and to Mary those who mentioned his name when he was helpless to help himself. He speaks to the Trinity about his friends.

He becomes in effect a mighty benefactor, persuasively beseeching God to extend mercy and grant favors to those who remembered him in purgatory. He prays with the fervor of new-found joy that their passage through life will be safe, their stay in purgatory brief, their entrance into heaven swift and triumphant. He prays that one day they too might behold the beatific vision and see God, Face to face through the endlessness of eternity. It is their unselfish urge to share so great a bliss that we ask them to send us.

To help insure for ourselves a shortened purgatory, we pray:

The Prayer for the Holy Souls

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of thy servants and handmaids departed, the remission of all their sins; that through pious supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
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Saturday, December 23, 2006
Christmas with the Bishop
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I am extremely honored and blessed by God. Today was extremely busy for me, and I wanted to write about some of the wonderful opportunities today. First and foremost, I was able to attend a Christmas party with my bishop, and he gave an awesome spiritual talk on Christmas. His overriding theme was that even at the first moment of Jesus's human life, Holy Scripture alludes to His ultimate Sacrifice on the Cross.

For Jesus never had to take on human flesh. For He is truly the Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity - God Himself. Yet, as Scripture states, "Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather, he emptied himself and took the form of a slave..."

Meditate on Philippians 2:6-7, especially on the word "slave". Since Jesus is God, His very Incarnation was a Sacrifice. The cold, pain, and hunger He endured were all part of His Sacrificial mission, which culminated on the Cross. The baby in the manger, as He stretched out his little arms, knew that those same arms would one day be drawn out and pierced. Likewise, the spiritual talk today centered on such themes of Jesus's sacrifice being alluded to in Scripture.

Here is Luke 2:21-35

When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord," and to offer the sacrifice of "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons," in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

"Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel." The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

Now Meditate on Mary and Joseph. As they stood and listened to the prophecy of Simeon, spiritually place yourself in their hearts. Simeon is telling Mary that the Child before her would be a cause of contradiction. And that same child's pain, she would have to also to bear. Imagine the fear in their hearts as they heard this. But, they trusted God. After the Shepherds came and adored the Newborn Christ, Scripture states: "And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart" (Luke 2:19). What a beautiful trust in God! Let us seek to follow Mary's humility and trust in God's providence. That reading, which is on the Presentation of Jesus, alludes to Jesus's ultimate Sacrifice. Even as a young child, a baby, He was already growing closer and preparing Himself for His sacrifice. We profess this in the Nicene Creed when we say, "For us men and for our salvation, He came down from Heaven." Every part of Jesus's life alludes to His role as a priest, prophet, and King. Jesus Christ is the Messiah.

The Prophet Isaiah prophesied men from the East and West would come before the Messiah. And they did; they were the Wisemen. Even in the Gospel, the Wisemen's gifts further allude to Jesus's ultimate Sacrifice.

Matthew 2:9-12

And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

Gold is undoubtedly the most common of the three gifts for us to relate to today. It is a precious medal and worth much in monetary value. The value of Frankincense and myrrh is more hidden. Those were items used for the preparation of a body for burial. Behold, the Magi, who came to adore the King, already were bringing Him the perfumes to prepare a deceased body. Scripture again alludes to the ultimate Sacrifice of Jesus.

After all of this, I was greatly impressed at the Bishop's spiritual talk. I would like to ask all of my readers to think about Scripture alluding to Jesus's Sacrifice especially this weekend at Christmas Mass.

This was not even the best part of my day. The best part was when I was invited to assist at Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at a Catholic Cathedral. Not only do I get to process in wearing a Cassock and Surplice, but I will assist at the Solemnity of Christmas. How wonderful! It will be such a beautifully reverent Mass!

Merry Christmas!
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Holy Souls Novena: Day Eight
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Our Lady, Mother Mary, has said that more souls are released from Purgatory on Christmas than any other day in the year.

This novena was written by Daniel Lord, S.J.

Day 8

Then on a happy day, release comes. Perhaps for souls whose friends on earth forgot them and for whom because of valid reasons God showed no special consideration that release comes only at the end of long and bitter centuries. Perhaps it comes far sooner than they dared to hope. Their friends have remembered them. Prayers have poured in upon them. God has accepted these in part or in full payment of their debt. But late or soon the release comes, the sentence is finished, the grim gates of purgatory swing open. Ahead are the white and shining portals of the eternal city. Like the rush of light the released soul sweeps upward toward God. Fierce winds have not the fierce intensity that marks this flight of a soul from exile to the happiness for which God destined it.

Then in the presence of God there is the moment of triumph, the welcome by the Trinity, the entrance into the heavenly mansion... the enthronement of another saint. As that moment shall begin for that soul, an eternity of bliss and incomparable happiness that shall be without flaw, never to be marred by uncertainty or disillusionment. For then, the soul shall possess God for all eternity.

We can have part in that swift flight to joy if we pray:

The Prayer for the Holy Souls

O God, the Creater and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of thy servants and handmaids departed, the remission of all their sins; that through pious supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
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O Antiphon for December 23
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Above is the chanting of the O Antiphon for today in Latin.
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Friday, December 22, 2006
St. John Cantius
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Today is the Memorial of St. John Cantius, also called St. John of Kanty. Check out my post for his feastday from last year.
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O Antiphon for December 22
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Above is the chanting of the O Antiphon for today in Latin.
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CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS MEME
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I was sent this Meme by So Many Devotions.

1. Favorite devotion or prayer to Jesus? Besides attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, I like Eucharistic Adoration, the Stations of the Cross, and the Liturgy of the Hours.

2. Favorite Marian devotion or prayer? The Rosary, Devotion to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, and the Memorare.

3. Do you wear a scapular or medal? The St. Benedict's Crucifix

4. Do you have holy water in your home? No, I do not.

5. Do you 'offer up' your sufferings? Yes, I make a morning offering each day to offer my prayers, works, joys, sufferings, etc. all to God.

6. Do you observe First Fridays and First Saturdays? I post about them but with classes and work, I can't attend Mass on those days.

7. Do you go to Eucharistic Adoration? How frequently? Yes. I like to go each day, but lately I haven't been able to go very frequently.

8. Are you a Saturday evening Mass person or Sunday morning Mass person? Definitely a Sunday Morning Mass goer.

9. Do you say prayers at mealtime? Yes - I try to remember to pray each and everytime before eating.

10. Favorite Saint(s)? I have a lot of favorites including St. Padre Pio, St. Patrick, St. Pius X, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, etc.

11. Can you recite the Apostles Creed by heart? Yes.

12. Do you usually say short prayers (aspirations) during the course of the day? Yes - I like to say "Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me". Even saying the name of "Jesus" is powerful since the name literally means "God saves".

13. Bonus Question: When you pass by a automobile accident or other serious mishap, do you say a quick prayer for the folks involved? Yes, I always try to do so.
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St. Padre Pio on the Child Christ
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"Stay very close to the crib of this most beautiful Child, especially during these days of His birth. If you love riches, here you will find the gold the Kings left Him. If you love the smoke of honors, here you will find that of incense. And if you love the delicacy of the senses, you will smell the perfumed myrrh which perfumes the entire Holy stable" (St. Padre Pio).
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Holy Souls Novena: Day Seven
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Our Lady, Mother Mary, has said that more souls are released from Purgatory on Christmas than any other day in the year.

This novena was written by Daniel Lord, S.J.

Day 7

What food is to a starving man.... What drink is to the parched sailor riding the tropic seas on a raft.... What light is to the man long blind.... What restored health is to the patient invalid.... What freedom is to the prisoner.... All this and far, far more is release from purgatory to a holy soul. And when food... light... health... freedom come suddenly, unexpectedly, the human heart leaps and bounds, and the soul knows the sharp ecstacy of joy.

So it is with each prayer that we say for the beseeching souls in purgatory. Our prayer is bread and water and light and health; it is a reprieve and a release and freedom and a homecoming. It is the cutting of bonds, the lessening of weary waiting, the termination of exile, the sudden glorious lift that picks them up and seems almost to shoot them toward the center of their joy, God Himself.

For us that prayer is an almost careless gesture. For us a routine act of charity... Prayer, an alms, a bit of fasting, a good deed done... forgotten in the doing. For them something beyond price and measure, something for which they can repay us only in the immortal coin of eternity.

Such a good deed we perform as we pray:

The Prayer for the Holy Souls

O God, the Creater and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of thy servants and handmaids departed, the remission of all their sins; that through pious supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
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Thursday, December 21, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI: The Nativity of Jesus is Real
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I wanted to share part of this article from LifeSiteNews:
In a meeting today with children from the group Italian Catholic Action, Pope Benedict XVI said "The birth of Jesus is not a fable, it is a story that really happened, in Bethlehem two thousand years ago." The Pope added, "Faith brings us to recognize in that little Child born of the Virgin Mary, the true Son of God Who, out of love, chose to become man."

"In the face of the little Jesus," said Benedict, "we contemplate the face of God, which is not revealed through force or power, but in weakness and the fragile constitution of a child. This 'Divine Child' .. demonstrates the faithfulness and tenderness of the boundless love with which God surrounds each of us. For this reason we rejoice at Christmas, reliving the same experience as the shepherds of Bethlehem."

"The wonder we feel before the enchantment of Christmas" is, he said, in some way reflected in the birth of all children, "and it invites us to recognize the Infant Jesus in all babies, who are the joy of the Church and the hope of the world."
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O Antiphon for December 21
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Above is the chanting of the O Antiphon for today in Latin.
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Book Review: Let God's Light Shine Forth
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I was recently sent a copy of "Let God's Light Shine Forth" edited by Robert Moynihan. I was proud to again review a book for Double Day Publishing. This book, however, I had already read back in March 2006. However, I want to finally write a review on the book.

Above all, it was a very good book that was based on Pope Benedict's words. Chapter II composed nearly all of the book and was separated in various areas with subheadings like "Faith" and "Morality". The editor of this book wanted Pope Benedict XVI's words to speak for himself, so all of those pages in Chapter II were the Holy Father's words from his books, homilies, speeches, and letters. I found the book highly informative and saved several intriguing passages on my computer to share them on my blog eventually. It is a great collection of quotations by the Holy Father.

Read an excerpt!

Overall, I rank this one 3.5/5.0

(Moynihan, Robert, ed. "The Spiritual Vision of Pope Benedict XVI: Let God's Light Shine Forth". New York: DoubleDay, 2005.)

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Holy Souls Novena: Day Six
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Our Lady, Mother Mary, has said that more souls are released from Purgatory on Christmas than any other day in the year.

This novena was written by Daniel Lord, S.J.

Day 6

Our souls hunger for God with far more intensity than ever a starving body hungers for food. Here in this world we are distracted by the pressure of the life about us. In purgatory there are no distractions. Their eyes are fixed on the closed gates of heaven, the holy souls long for God, yearn for God, hunger and thirst for God. The terms of their sentence ring in their ears: "Thus and thus long shall you remain separated from your joy, until these sins and these misdeeds and these blemishes and these stains have been atoned for."

Balanced against their consuming hunger for God is their certainty that they would not dare enter His Presence with the slightest stain upon them. They almost wish that the fires burned more fiercely and more rapidly so that the pain could be at once more intense and more cleansing.

Imagine then their gratitude for every prayer or good deed by which we help them cleanse their souls and speed them on their way to God. Imagine the leaping with joy with which they welcome any act by which we cut their sentence, shorten their stay in purgatory, and hasten their entrance into heaven.

We can give joy to these holy souls here and now as we say:

The Prayer for the Holy Souls

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of thy servants and handmaids departed, the remission of all their sins; that through pious supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
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Pictures of Tridentine Mass in Connecticut
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I found a link on The Inspired Traditionalist to a page with wonderful photos of the 20th Anniversary Mass of the Saint Gregory Society, New Haven, CT on November 12, 2006.

Check here!
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Wednesday, December 20, 2006
O Antiphon for December 20
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Above is the chanting of the O Antiphon for today in Latin.
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Holy Souls Novena: Day Five
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Our Lady, Mother Mary, has said that more souls are released from Purgatory on Christmas than any other day in the year.

This novena was written by Daniel Lord, S.J.

Day 5

These in purgatory are the friends of God. These are the souls who will in a short time be glorious and powerful saints in heaven. Their souls are saved. Their crowns are awaiting them. Their thrones are prepared, and their mansions are ready. God loves them deeply, as He loves all those faithful sons and daughters who fought the good fight. Their prayers for others come straight to His throne.

They can no longer pray for themselves; their time to merit is over. They can pray and they do pray for those on earth whom they love. That loving mother in purgatory is interceding for her children.... That devoted father is now more devoted.... Those friends have not forgotten the value of their friendship.... Those relatives are bound to us with ties much closer than blood.

Most of all the holy souls pray for their benefactors. Our slight remembering of them wins for us a great measure of intercession from them. We pray thoughtlessly; they pray with the intensity of souls who are coming ever closer to God. We ask for deliverance for them; they beg God for a thousand blessings for us.

In sheer wisdom and to our own advantage we say:

The Prayer for the Holy Souls

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of thy servants and handmaids departed, the remission of all their sins; that through pious supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
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St. Padre Pio on the Holy Family
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Saint Padre Pio
"May the Holy Family never withdraw its loving gaze from you and your family, Model yourselves on it and you will have peace, and spiritual and temporal well-being" - St. Padre Pio.
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Tuesday, December 19, 2006
A Catholic Life is now in Beta!
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Finally, "A Catholic Life" has been able to upgrade to Beta Version. Please submit your comments on the conversion.
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Boycott National Geographic TV
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I'd like to pass on part of an article that was emailed to me. I cannot stop thinking that Jesus must be so ashamed of this world with lies such as "The DaVinci Code", "Conversations with God" by Neale, and others. Here is one more to the list:

Did you know that Jesus Christ was a pimp?

He must have been. I saw it on TV.

In fact, he brokered Mary Magdelene's hooking business with various johns who were looking for love in all the wrong places, and willing to pay a few gold ducats for the service...

...But by the look of a promo spot for "The Secret Lives of Jesus," which premiered Sunday night on the National Geographic Channel, you would think Jesus was the anti-Christ.

The spot proclaims that Jesus was a troubled child who once crippled a boy because his victim's father had ratted him out for making clay pigeons on the Sabbath. To make the evidence disappear, Jesus brought the pigeons to life and made them fly away.
You can contact National Geographic TV and voice your disapproval.
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O Antiphon for December 19
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Above is the chanting of the O Antiphon for today in Latin.
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Holy Souls Novena: Day Four
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Our Lady, Mother Mary, has said that more souls are released from Purgatory on Christmas than any other day in the year.

This novena was written by Daniel Lord, S.J.

Day 4

Swiftly the memory even of the dear dead seems to pass from human minds. Memory is like the tears upon a coffin, swiftly evaporated, quickly dried. The rush of the days fills the minds and hands of the living. The press of old associations and the establishment of new friends helps supplant and elbow into the dusty corners of our minds the friends now hidden in God's penitentiary. But these prisoners do not forget us.

In the slow, painful dragging of the days they have time to remember. They are so hungry for God that they have little heart for new companions. They are made sensitive---to memory, to neglect, to hope for deliverance, to the knowledge that those who once cried aloud their love have so swiftly forgotten.

With gratitude do they think of those who do remember them. With sadness they think of those who have so swiftly dropped them. They pray to God, who loves them even in their exile, for the thoughtful and the mindful. They beg that those who have pushed them away for the near and the living will drop into their prison house a thought, a prayer, a good deed in ransom.

Remembering our own dear dead, we pray for them:

The Prayer for the Holy Souls

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of thy servants and handmaids departed, the remission of all their sins; that through pious supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
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Monday, December 18, 2006
O Antiphon for December 18
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Above is the chanting of the O Antiphon for today in Latin.
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Holy Souls Novena: Day Three
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Our Lady, Mother Mary, has said that more souls are released from Purgatory on Christmas than any other day in the year.

This novena was written by Daniel Lord, S.J.

Day 3

This life on earth is, as we have heard a thousand times, a time of merit. When through the Church's indulgences we avail ourselves of the merits of Christ and of the saints, we can wipe away the guilt of forgiven sins and eliminate the punishment due to venial sins, as we can also do through penance and deeds of charity.

But once the soul enters purgatory, the time for that soul to gain merit is ended. When we suffer on earth, we can offer our suffering to God, increasing thereby our future happiness in heaven and canceling out the pains of purgatory. When a soul suffers in purgatory, he slowly and tediously cancels the debts of sins; he gains no further merit for heaven. Nor are there indulgences in purgatory, nor fresh use of the merits of Christ, of His Mother, and of the saints.

Thanks however to our union in the Mystical Body of Christ, thanks to the communion of the saints, we can gain merit for the suffering souls. We can win indulgences and apply them to the period of waiting of these souls. We can cut their sufferings and speed their entry into heaven by whatever of good that we offer for them on earth.

In all generosity we say for these souls who depend on us:

The Prayer for the Holy Souls

O God, the Creater and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of thy servants and handmaids departed, the remission of all their sins; that through pious supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
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Sunday, December 17, 2006
My Review of "The Nativity Story"
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Today I finally went to see "The Nativity Story", and after reading negative comments about the movie, I have to respond. Many Traditional Catholics are holding very hateful positions to the movie. However, as a Traditional-minded Catholic, I have to disagree with them. The movie was very good. While at some times it was a little violent (sacrificed cow scene), I did enjoy it, and the movie did follow the Bible fairly well.

While Mary is portrayed more through a Protestant viewpoint rather than a Catholic, I still encourage the movie. The only part I did not like is the part where Mary is giving birth to Jesus. The scene showed her in intense birthing pangs. However, since Mary is sinless and birthing pangs came into the world due to original sin, Mary did not suffer birthing pangs. This is a teaching of the Church, and the movie is very incorrect in this instance. If you keep this in mind, I have no reservations to recommending this movie to you. I also really wish the movie would have highlighted the holiness and sinlessness of Mary. But, the movie does help proclaim the reason for the season: Jesus Christ! Concerning the birthing pangs, here is a passage from the Catechism of the Council of Trent:

"... as the rays of the sun penetrate, without breaking or injuring, in the least, the substance of glass; after a like, but more incomprehensible manner, did Jesus Christ come forth from his mother's womb without injury to her maternal virginity, which, immaculate and perpetual, forms the just theme of our eulogy."

Back to the movie, I was moved to tears when the Child Jesus was born. The Star of Bethlehem shone down upon the newborn King, and the shepherds and wisemen came and adored Him. I felt like I wanted to fall to my knees as I watched the scene to thank my Lord for love and humility.

Overall, it was a good movie and I do recommend it. But, there were still several theological errors in the movie. I suggest this post for more information:

http://www.traditioninaction.org/movies/009mrNativity.htm

Concerning the Perpetual Virginity of Mary:

Other Blog's Reviews:

  • Catholic Fire
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    Holy Souls Novena: Day Two
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    Our Lady, Mother Mary, has said that more souls are released from Purgatory on Christmas than any other day in the year.

    This novena was written by Daniel Lord, S.J.

    Day 2

    Nothing else is humanly harder to bear than painful waiting. All the souls in purgatory are sure one day to reach heaven. They know how wonderful heaven is and how desirable is God. But they cannot follow the violent impulse that drives them toward their happiness. They must hunger for God and still be withheld from the possession of Him. In hell there is only bleak and hopeless despair. In purgatory there is hope and certainty and love and eagerness---and long periods of waiting.... waiting... waiting....

    There is suffering too in purgatory, the suffering that washes away in flame the stains of guilt and cleanses as with fire the soul that will eventually enter into the presence of the spotless God. But the real pain of purgatory is that awful eagerness for God, who is just out of reach, and that longing to go home to heaven, which is almost seen but as yet unattainable. Nothing defiled can enter heaven; that we know. So purgatory is the place where defilement is removed, where the souls that are destined for glory are prepared by punishment and tedious delay for their glorious homecoming with God.

    For the love we bear our friends in purgatory we pray:

    The Prayer for the Holy Souls

    O God, the Creater and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of thy servants and handmaids departed, the remission of all their sins; that through pious supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen
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    Remember the O Antiphons
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    Beginning tonight, the antiphons for the Magnificant up until Christmas will be one of the O Antiphons. If you are unfamiliar with the O Antiphons, please see my post for more information.
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    The O Antiphons
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    The O Antiphons are a series of antiphons to the Magnificant, which are prayed as part of Vespers (evening prayer) from December 17th - 23th inclusive. Each of the titles of the O Antiphons addresses Jesus with a special title given to the Messiah and refers to a prophecy from the Prophet Isaiah. It is unknown when the O Antiphons started, however, there is mention of them as far back as the 400's AD. They are often called the Great Antiphons too.

    If one were to start with the last title and takes the first letter of each one—Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, "Tomorrow, I will come". Thus, the "O Antiphons" not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.

    Here is a link to the chanting of the O Antiphons in Latin:

    December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
    December 18: O Adonai (O Adonai)
    December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
    December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
    December 21: O Oriens (O Morning Star)
    December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
    December 23: O Emmanuel (O Emmanuel)

    Image Source: O Antiphons via Catholic Eye Candy
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    Catholic Survey
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    I was asked to post about this. Here is the message from To Jesus Through Mary [now defunct]:

    As the Blogger of To Jesus Through Mary I am requesting Catholics in the age group of 16-45 to take part in a survey about the direction of the Catholic Church. I want to come to an understanding what young people think of the Church, maybe why they don't go to mass every weekend, and such. I want to know how these individuals want to the Church to be in 20 years from now.

    For this reason I wish to dedicate a portion of my time in 2007 to reading surveys which I will create with the help of others. These surveys will be available sometime after the first of the year.

    I am asking for all Catholics, from Conservative Catholics to Liberal Catholics, to those involved in the Charismatic movement. Catholics who attend the traditional latin mass and to those who attend mass in the vernacular. All Catholics in the age range of 16-45 I request you to email me at:

    catholicsurvey (at) gmail (dot) com

    Please put in the subject "Catholic Survey" as a way to eliminate spam.

    Upon the receipt of your email, I will send you an email confiriming your request to take part in the survey and the date on which I plan to release the suvey.

    I ask if you have a blog or any way to promote this survey to please do so.

    I appreciate it your help. This is a great opportunity for us to evaluate your own positions of the Church and to learn about the Church at the same time.

    Your Brother in Christ,

    Edward Lee
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    Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday)
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    From Catholic Culture:
    "Rejoice: the Lord is nigh." As Christmas draws near, the Church emphasizes the joy which should be in our hearts over all that the birth of our Savior means for us. The great joy of Christians is to see the day drawing nigh when the Lord will come again in His glory to lead them into His kingdom. The oft-repeated Veni ("Come") of Advent is an echo not only of the prophets but also of the conclusion of the Apocalypse of St. John: "Come, Lord Jesus," the last words of the New Testament. Today is known as Gaudete Sunday. The term Gaudete refers to the first word of the Entrance Antiphon, "Rejoice". Rose vestments are worn to emphasize our joy that Christmas is near, and we also light the rose candle on our Advent wreath.

    Traditional Propers:


    INTROIT
    Philippians 4: 4-6
    Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing by prayer let your petitions be made known to God. -- (Ps. 84. 2). Lord, Thou hast blessed Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob. V.: Glory to the Father . . . -- Rejoice in the Lord always . . .

    COLLECT - Incline Thine ear, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to our petitions: and, by the grace of Thy visitation, enlighten the darkness of our minds. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity . . .

    EPISTLE
    Philippians 4:4-7
    Brethren, Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men. The Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    GRADUAL
    Psalms. 72: 2,3,6
    Thou, O Lord, that sittest upon the Cherubim, stir up Thy might and come. V.: Give ear, O Thou that rulest Israel: that leadest Joseph like a sheep. Alleluia, alleluia. V.: Stir up, O Lord, Thy might, and come to save us. Alleluia.

    GOSPEL
    John 1: 19-28

    At that time the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and levites to John, to ask him: Who art thou? And he confessed, and did not deny: and he confessed: I am not the Christ. And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the Prophet? And he answered: No. They said therefore unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? What sayest thou of thyself? He said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the Prophet Isaias. And they that were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the Prophet? John answered them, saying: I baptize with water: but there hath stood one in the midst of you whom you know not. The same is He that shall come after me, who is preferred before me: the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bethania, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

    OFFERTORY
    Psalms 84: 2,3
    Lord, Thou hast blessed Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob: Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of Thy people.

    SECRET - May the Sacrifice of our devotion, we beseech Thee, O Lord, be continually offered up to Thee, may it both complete the institution of the holy Mysteries, and wondrously accomplish in us Thy salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .

    PREFACE (Preface of the Most Holy Trinity) - It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:

    COMMUNION
    Isaias 3 5: 4
    Say: Ye fainthearted, take courage and fear not: behold our God will come, and will save us.

    POST COMMUNION - We implore, O Lord, Thy mercy: that these divine helps may expiate our sins, and prepare us for the approaching feast. Through our Lord . .
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    Saturday, December 16, 2006
    Holy Souls Novena: Day One
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    Our Lady, Mother Mary, has said that more souls are released from Purgatory on Christmas than any other day in the year. So, today is time to start a Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

    This novena was written by Daniel Lord, S.J.

    Day 1

    Sin is the one thing that holds back the progress of man's ascent to God. Only sin blocks his path. Vice and crime throw human beings back to animal levels when they should be mounting toward the angels. Death in mortal sin means the complete failure that is hell. It flings a man, who is destined for eternal happiness, into eternal loss and pain. Death in venial sin or with the punishment due to sin still on the soul means a halt in the progress toward heaven. The poor soul---poor indeed in his eagerness to reach God and the tedious, painful delay that keeps him from God---must linger in God's prisonhouse. This is the sad land of purgatory. It is a place of anxious, almost impatient waiting. Since there are in purgatory relatives we loved and friends we knew and thousands of others who call to us for help, we pause and say:

    The Prayer for the Holy Souls

    O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of thy servants and handmaids departed, the remission of all their sins; that through pious supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
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    Reminder: FDA Guidelines on Vaccines Comment Deadline is Dec 28
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    I just wanted to remind my readers that the public comment period ends on December 28, 2006. Please spread the word about this most important issue. 

    ["The FDA has issued new guidelines for the pharmaceutical industry regarding the use of various types of cell lines that are being used and will be used in the future for the manufacture of vaccines. These cell lines include several ethical sources as well as ABORTED FETAL CELL LINES. Since the FDA has invited the general public to respond through December 28, 2006, we are urging all concerned citizens, medical professionals, pharmacists and pro-life groups to let your voices be heard! It is imperative that the FDA receives a massive amount of public protest on the use of aborted fetal cell lines as your response may very well dictate the direction pharmaceutical companies will move in the future." -- Debi Vinnedge, Children of God for Life http://www.cogforlife.org/]
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    Friday, December 15, 2006
    Friday, A Day of Abstience and Penance
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    O King of Glory, have mercy on us sinners!


    Today is Friday, the day we commemorate Our Lord's passion and death. It was our own sins that condemned Our Glorious Lord to death - death on a Cross. As Catholics, we are still bound to either abstain from meat today or rather to do some act of penance. It was on this day of the week that Our Glorious Redeemer died for us. Please, never forget this, especially at 3 o'clock, the hour that He died. At 3 o'clock attempt to pray the 3 o'clock Mercy Prayer. Please remember Our Lord's love and repent today.

    Code of Canon Law:

    Canon 1251: "Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the episcopal conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday."
    Canon 1253 provides an exception to the rule - and, perhaps, an explanation for the cultural shift: "The episcopal conference can determine more particular ways in which fasting and abstinence are to be observed. In place of abstinence or fasting it can substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety."

    Today is also a great day to pray the Stations of the Cross. The Stations are a wonderful devotion that can be prayed in Church or at home. Nonetheless, the stations allow us to contemplate the true love of our Redeemer during His bitter Passion. Please join me in praying the Stations of the Cross. Remember, it was on this day that He gave up His life all for you.

    Prayer to the Glorious Cross:

    I adore You, O glorious Cross, which was adorned with the Heart and Body of my Savior Jesus Christ, stained and covered with blood. I adore You, O Holy Cross, out of love for Him, Jesus, who is my Savior and my God.

    (Pope Pius IX declared that reciting this prayer five times on Friday will free five souls from Purgatory and 33 souls by reciting it on Good Friday. This prayer should be recited before a crucifix with a contrite heart and praying a few minutes for the Pope).

    Prayer to Jesus Christ Crucified:

    My good and dear Jesus, I kneel before you asking you most earnestly to engrave upon my heart a deep and lively faith, hope, and charity, with true repentance for my sins, and a firm resolve to make amends. As I reflect upon your five wounds, and dwell upon them with deep compassion and grief, I recall the words the prophet David spoke long ago concerning yourself: they have pierced my hands and my feet, they have numbered all my bones!
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    Download the Chaplet of St. Michael
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    Note: these prayers and words are taken from EWTN's website
     
    The Chaplet of St. Michael is a wonderful way to honor this great Archangel along with the other nine Choirs of Angels. What do we mean by Choirs? It seems that God has created various orders of Angels. Sacred Scripture distinguishes nine such groupings: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominations, Powers, Virtues, Principalities, Archangels and Angels (Isa. 6:2; Gen. 3:24; Col. 1:16; Eph. 1:21; Rom. 8:38). There may be more groupings but these are the only ones that have been revealed to us. The Seraphim is believed to be the highest Choir, the most intimately united to God, while the Angelic Choir is the lowest.

    The history of this Chaplet goes back to a devout Servant of God, Antonia d'Astonac, who had a vision of St. Michael. He told Antonia to honor him by nine salutations to the nine Choirs of Angels. St. Michael promised that whoever would practice this devotion in his honor would have, when approaching Holy Communion, an escort of nine angels chosen from each of the nine Choirs. In addition, for those who would recite the Chaplet daily, he promised his continual assistance and that of all the holy angels during life. 
     
    The Chaplet of St. Michael 
     
    O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father, etc.
    [Say one Our Father and three Hail Marys after each of the following nine salutations in honor of the nine Choirs of Angels]

    1. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Seraphim may the Lord make us worthy to burn with the fire of perfect charity.
    Amen.

    2. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Cherubim may the Lord grant us the grace to leave the ways of sin and run in the paths of Christian perfection.
    Amen.

    3. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Thrones may the Lord infuse into our hearts a true and sincere spirit of humility.
    Amen.

    4. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Dominations may the Lord give us grace to govern our senses and overcome any unruly passions.
    Amen.

    5. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Virtues may the Lord preserve us from evil and falling into temptation. Amen.

    6. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Powers may the Lord protect our souls against the snares and temptations of the devil.
    Amen.

    7. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Principalities may God fill our souls with a true spirit of obedience. Amen.

    8. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels may the Lord give us perseverance in faith and in all good works in order that we may attain the glory of Heaven.
    Amen.

    9. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Angels may the Lord grant us to be protected by them in this mortal life and conducted in the life to come to Heaven.
    Amen.

    Say one Our Father in honor of each of the following leading Angels: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael and our Guardian Angel.

    Concluding prayers: 
     
    O glorious prince St. Michael, chief and commander of the heavenly hosts, guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits, servant in the house of the Divine King and our admirable conductor, you who shine with excellence and superhuman virtue deliver us from all evil, who turn to you with confidence and enable us by your gracious protection to serve God more and more faithfully every day.

    Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ, that we may be made worthy of His promises.

    Almighty and Everlasting God, Who, by a prodigy of goodness and a merciful desire for the salvation of all men, has appointed the most glorious Archangel St. Michael Prince of Your Church, make us worthy, we ask You, to be delivered from all our enemies, that none of them may harass us at the hour of death, but that we may be conducted by him into Your Presence.This we ask through the merits of
    Jesus Christ Our Lord.

    Amen. 



    If you would like to buy a chaplet, some inexpensive ones are available online.  Click here for an option.  If you do buy a chaplet, remember to take it to a priest to have it blessed.
     
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