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Immaculate Conception Prayer Program

Immaculate Conception IconToday at the conclusion of Mass we held a short Immaculate Conception prayer program. This is a program of the Knights of Columbus which includes this traveling icon. Several of us processed to the altar where we placed the icon and then said a prayer.

The Knights of Columbus Immaculate Conception Marian Prayer Program honors the central place the Blessed Virgin Mary holds in the life of our Order and the historic devotion that has been afforded to the Immaculate Conception by the Church in North America. The first cathedral in the New World north of Mexico was named for the Immaculate Conception, and the bishops of the United States named Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception as the patroness of the nation.

The image used for this prayer program is a reproduction of a painting of Mary as the Immaculate Conception that hangs above the main altar of the Basilica-Cathedral of Notre- Dame de Québec. It was painted in 1925 by Sister Mary of the Eucharist, a Sister of Charity of Québec, to replace the 18th-century painting destroyed during a fire at the cathedral in 1922.

At the bottom of the image it says, “His Holiness Pope Francis cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing. From the Vatican June 29, 2013.”

The Patron of the Hidden Life

Today is the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary

St. Joseph, husband of the Mother of God, pray for us!

My favorite prayer to St. Joseph:

    Oh, St. Joseph,
    I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath.
    St. Joseph, Patron of departed souls – pray for me. Amen.

Total Consecration To Jesus Through Mary

Total ConsecrationI thought I had done a post about my annual “Preparation For Total Consecration According To St. Louis Marie De Montfort.” This is an annual devotion that I would recommend to anyone who wants to make a special effort to develop their interior spiritual life and do it with the help of our Blessed Lady. There are several times during the year when you can start the devotion. Mine is in November.

From the introduction:

It was through the Blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus came into the world, and it is also through her that he must reign in the world.

You can find a copy of the book I use on Amazon.

Perpetual Adoration

The Blessed SacramentWith our Lord’s permission I took a picture of Him in the Blessed Sacrament in our perpetual adoration chapel at the Cathedral of St. Joseph here in Jefferson City, MO. I highly encourage all parishes to consider beginning perpetual adoration if at all possible. I’m not sure when I started spending one hour a week with our Lord but it is the highlight of my week. There is not a more peaceful place than in the chapel alone with Him. Although perpetual adoration is normally structured so that people sign up for a specific hour each week, you may also make a visit anytime.

If you’re not familiar with perpetual adoration, here’s some explanation from EWTN. A monstrance is the vessel used to hold/display the Blessed Sacrament (consecrated eucharistic host).

Perpetual Adoration is a Eucharistic devotion whereby members of a given parish (or other entity) unite in taking hours of adoration before the Most Blessed Sacrament (in most cases, exposed), both during the day and throughout the night, seven days a week.

Why is exposition in the monstrance preferred?

To see Jesus visibly present under the appearance of the small white host is much more conducive to intimacy than hidden away in the tabernacle. Moreover, it adds an extra responsibility on the adorers to be sure to be faithful to the hours they are scheduled, since the suggested norm for having Jesus exposed in the monstrance is that there should be at least two adorers present, and He must never be left alone. Could not these words of our Lord be applied today: “Indeed, this is the will of My heavenly Father, that everyone who looks upon the Son, and believes in Him, shall have eternal life. Him I will raise up on the last day.”

So you may wonder what you would do for an hour in perpetual adoration. Here’s some advice.

This hour Jesus wants you to spend with Him is spent any way you want. You may bring your own prayer books, use the books in the chapel, read the Bible, pray the rosary, or just sit and relax and enjoy the sweet peace that comes from simply being in the Presence of God.

I Am All Thine, My Queen and My Mother, and All That I Have is Thine!

Blessed VirginHappy Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, body and soul, into Heaven! What a glorious feast – a reminder of our ultimate destiny! Today is also the day of consecration for those, like me, who have been following the 33 day Preparation for Total Consecration. Words of consecration, from St. Louis de Montfort

O Eternal and incarnate Wisdom! O sweetest and most adorable Jesus! True God and true man, only Son of the Eternal Father, and of Mary, always virgin! I adore Thee profoundly in the bosom and splendors of Thy Father during eternity; and I adore Thee also in the virginal bosom of Mary, Thy most worthy Mother, in the time of Thine incarnation.

I give Thee thanks for that Thou hast annihilated Thyself, taking the form of a slave in order to rescue me from the cruel slavery of the devil. I praise and glorify Thee for that Thou hast been pleased to submit Thyself to Mary, Thy holy Mother, in all things, in order to make me Thy faithful slave through her. But, alas! Ungrateful and faithless as I have been, I have not kept the promises which I made so solemnly to Thee in my Baptism; I have not fulfilled my obligations; I do not deserve to be called Thy child, nor yet Thy slave; and as there is nothing in me which does not merit Thine anger and Thy repulse, I dare not come by myself before Thy most holy and august Majesty. It is on this account that I have recourse to the intercession of Thy most holy Mother, whom Thou hast given me for a mediatrix with Thee. It is through her that I hope to obtain of Thee contrition, the pardon of my sins, and the acquisition and preservation of wisdom.

Hail, then, O immaculate Mary, living tabernacle of the Divinity, where the Eternal Wisdom willed to be hidden and to be adored by angels and by men! Hail, O Queen of Heaven and earth, to whose empire everything is subject which is under God. Hail, O sure refuge of sinners, whose mercy fails no one. Hear the desires which I have of the Divine Wisdom; and for that end receive the vows and offerings which in my lowliness I present to thee.

I, N_____, a faithless sinner, renew and ratify today in thy hands the vows of my Baptism; I renounce forever Satan, his pomps and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before. In the presence of all the heavenly court I choose thee this day for my Mother and Mistress. I deliver and consecrate to thee, as thy slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present and future; leaving to thee the entire and full right of disposing of me, and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to thy good pleasure, for the greater glory of God in time and in eternity.

Receive, O benignant Virgin, this little offering of my slavery, in honor of, and in union with, that subjection which the Eternal Wisdom deigned to have to thy maternity; in homage to the power which both of you have over this poor sinner, and in thanksgiving for the privileges with which the Holy Trinity has favored thee. I declare that I wish henceforth, as thy true slave, to seek thy honor and to obey thee in all things.

O admirable Mother, present me to thy dear Son as His eternal slave, so that as He has redeemed me by thee, by thee He may receive me! O Mother of mercy, grant me the grace to obtain the true Wisdom of God; and for that end receive me among those whom thou lovest and teachest, whom thou leadest, nourishest and protectest as thy children and thy slaves.

O faithful Virgin, make me in all things so perfect a disciple, imitator and slave of the Incarnate Wisdom, Jesus Christ thy Son, that I may attain, by thine intercession and by thine example, to the fullness of His age on earth and of His glory in Heaven. Amen.

Total Consecration is based on de Montfort’s True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, about which John Paul II said:

“St. Louis de Montfort! I have long studied his doctrine and I like it. Besides, it’s from Montfort that I have taken my motto, “Totus Tuus” (I am all thine). Some day I’ll have to tell you Monfortians how I discovered de Montfort’s treatise on TRUE DEVOTION to Mary and how often I had to reread it to understand it.”

Indeed, rereading it has helped me to gain greater insight into the richness of this devotion and how to live it out in my daily life. The next (suggested) Total Consecration preparation begins on Nov. 5 and ends on Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Order the Total Consecration book, or use this website which offers a very thorough explanation of how to proceed and includes links to all readings and prayers so that ordering books is not necessary.

August 15 Total Consecration Prep Starts Today!

Total ConsecrationFor those who wish to make/renew their Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary on a Marian feast day, the next one coming up is the feast of the Assumption on August 15, which means the 33-day preparation begins today! This is the date of my own first Total Consecration (11 years ago) and when I try to renew it every year.

Total Consecration to Our Lady is, as St. Louis de Montfort says in his book True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, the “easy, short, perfect and secure way of attaining union with our Lord.” This is the devotion consists in making oneself a slave of Mary, doing all our actions by Mary, with Mary, in Mary and for Mary. We offer to the Blessed Mother every thought, word, deed and desire so that she might purify them and present them to our Lord to be distributed where they are most needed. It is a total abandonment to the Blessed Virgin Mary who will in turn lead us into a perfect union with Christ, her Son.

By Jesus Christ, with Jesus Christ, in Jesus Christ we can do all things; we can render all honor and glory to the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost; we can make ourselves perfect and be for our neighbor a fragrance of eternal life.

If, then, we are establishing sound devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only in order to establish devotion to our Lord more perfectly, by providing a smooth but certain way of reaching Jesus Christ. (True Devotion, n. 60-61)

If you don’t have the Preparation for Total Consecration book, this website offers a very thorough explanation of how to proceed. It includes links to all readings and prayers for every day so that ordering books is not necessary.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary

Immaculate HeartFrom Fr. Ben Nwosu’s homily this morning at Immaculate Conception church in Jeff City, MO

“Mary’s blessedness as Mother of God came from the willingness of her heart to submit to the will of God.”

Happy Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!!

Solemn Act of Consecration to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary

Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world.

Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world.

O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully.

We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home.

Amen.

–Venerable Pope Pius XII

“In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
~promise of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima

The Human Heart Needs the Sacred Heart

Sacred HeartFrom a good and holy priest in our diocese:

“I always say the human heart needs the Sacred Heart. We have the blessing of the Sacred Heart of Jesus living and beating, so to speak, in the Blessed Sacrament. It’s a great gift. I especially feel that in the morning and in the afternoon when I spend time in adoration.”

-Fr. Bill Korte, Salisbury, MO

Happy Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus!

O Most Merciful Jesus, I consecrate myself today and always to Your Most Sacred Heart. Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine! Most Sacred Heard of Jesus, have mercy on me!

Rosary Stars

Rosary Stars is a DVD from Family Theater Productions featuring famous Catholics leading each of the decades. Find out more about who’s in it or . The trailer:

Avoiding Discouragement

How often do you get discouraged? Maybe things aren’t going well at work or you fail at a resolution you’ve made. At this time of year a lot of people are making resolutions and many won’t keep them. This is where a developed interior life comes in to play.

I know I have lots of discouragements and many of them are my own responsibility. In fact, by doing a good daily self examination it’s easy to see how much I am responsible for things that go wrong or how I could have done things differently.

One of my resolutions has been to be more diligent in my devotions and that includes my daily prayers and spiritual reading. In the “Soul of the Apostolate” Chautard has a chapter on the danger of the active life without the interior life. The last section deals with discouragement and how a well developed interior life is a defense against discouragement. It’s really difficult to be discouraged when we speak directly with God and spend time with Him. I know that’s hard for anyone who hasn’t done so to understand.

One of my prayers for people today is that they will take time to meditate more on their life and their relationship with God. Then I believe they won’t be so discouraged.

The Month of the Rosary

October is the Month of the Holy Rosary. Bishop Finn had an excellent homily on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (Oct. 6.) The Mass was broadcast live on EWTN (video covers the procession through Bishop Finn’s homily):

Or read the homily online. And excerpt:

Hail Mary! We cry out again and again at her invitation. We persevere in trusting prayer – through the rhythms of the rosary – because she is Mother of God and our Mother. She who through the merciful plan of the Eternal Father gave the world its Redeemer wants us to know and love her Son. The mysteries of her life, of Jesus’ life, and of our lives are all intertwined. In the mystery of the Incarnation, Jesus Christ, God made man, unites Himself in some way to every man, and reveals to us who we are, and what is our high calling. (Gaudium et Spes, no. 22)

Mary’s rosary is our picture book of faith, hope, and love. Here in the unfolding images of Christ life: In His joys, through His luminous love, in His sorrows, in His glories; he prepares us for everything that will take place. The will of God is being realized in each event of Christ’s life, in Mary’s life, and in our life. And Mary will help us say “Yes,” and give our free and full assent to His divine plan.

October is also Respect Life Month. Be sure to especially pray the rosary for life this month – and for the election of good pro-life politicians in two weeks!! From Bishop’s homily:

Every day human life is under attack. If it were not enough that our elected leaders and judges too often have failed to stand up for vulnerable pre-born babies, or the disabled or the dying, every election campaign seems to be a referendum on the dignity and value of human life. Candidates who would stand with us valiantly against abortion or assisted suicide are labeled “extreme” and fanatical. Mary, we will not abandon your dear children, but we know that the proponents of these evils will not give up without a fight. Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of Life: Win among us the battle we cannot win without your help. Turn back the culture of death in our nation. Save us from the tyranny and deceit of Choice. Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Pray for us sinners.

Totus Tuus

nullLast Friday’s feast of the Assumption of Mary body and soul into Heaven is always an extra special feast day for me. On this day, roughly every year for the last 10 years I renew my Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary. St. Louis De Montfort calls True Devotion to Mary an “easy, short, perfect and secure way of attaining union with our Lord.”

This is the devotion consists in making oneself a slave of Mary, doing all our actions by Mary, with Mary, in Mary and for Mary. We offer to the Blessed Mother every thought, word, deed and desire so that she might purify them and present them to our Lord to be distributed where they are most needed. It is a total abandonment to the Blessed Virgin Mary who will in turn lead us into a perfect union with Christ, her Son.

By Jesus Christ, with Jesus Christ, in Jesus Christ we can do all things; we can render all honor and glory to the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost; we can make ourselves perfect and be for our neighbor a fragrance of eternal life.

If, then, we are establishing sound devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only in order to establish devotion to our Lord more perfectly, by providing a smooth but certain way of reaching Jesus Christ. (True Devotion, n. 60-61)

What I love about this devotion is that it is nothing short of a perfect imitation of Christ who spent almost His entire life on earth completely subject to His Blessed Mother. I think of the finding in the temple, when Jesus, ready begin his public ministry at age 12, left His parents in Jerusalem to go preach to the elders in the temple. Seeing how this upset his Mother, Jesus returned home and was “obedient” to her, living hidden in Nazzareth with his mother for another 18 years. This devotion echoes not only Christ’s love for His Mother, but also His sublime humility.

If you have not yet read St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion, I highly recommend it! But don’t just take my word for it. JP II said:

“St. Louis de Montfort! I have long studied his doctrine and I like it. Besides, it’s from Montfort that I have taken my motto, “Totus Tuus” (I am all thine). Some day I’ll have to tell you Monfortians how I discovered de Montfort’s treatise on TRUE DEVOTION to Mary and how often I had to reread it to understand it.”

Indeed, rereading it has helped me to gain greater insight into the richness of this devotion and how to live it out in my daily life. The next (suggested) Total Consecration preparation begins on Nov. 5 and ends on Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Order the Total Consecration book, or use this website which offers a very thorough explanation of how to proceed and includes links to all readings and prayers so that ordering books is not necessary.

The Effects of True Devotion

Our LadyI am in the middle of renewing my Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary this year so I was pleased to find this passage in The Way recently:

The love of our Mother will be the breath that kindles into a living flame the embers of virtue that are hidden under the ashes of your indifference. ~St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way n. 492

When we give ourselves completely to Mary she gives herself completely to us in return, sharing with us her own glorious virtues. She purifies all of our good works and intentions offered to her in confidence, offering them in turn to Christ who never refuses what is given to him from the hands of His Holy and Immaculate Mother (True Devotion – book, online – nos. 144, 146, 149).

Wearing the Scapular

brown scapularAs you have probably noticed, much of the Mt. Carmel novena has focussed on the scapular – shown on the right. But what about the scapular? I’ve been wearing one for a few years now. Here is some information about the brown scapular that our own Carmelite sisters put together for the novena last year:

Ask someone about the “Scapular” and you will likely be told it is a religious object associated with the Blessed Virgin.
The Brown Scapular consists of two small panels of cloth joined by strings and worn over the shoulders. Generally, one panel bears a woven or printed image showing the vision of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to St. Simon Stock, while the other bears the image of Our Lady with the Child Jesus.
For centuries, the Scapular has been one of the most popular Marian devotions, second only to Our Lady’s Rosary. As a sacramental, it has been enriched by the Church with many spiritual blessings.
On July 16, 1261, at Aylesford in Kent England, according to tradition, Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite, and made the Scapular a sign of her protection. With it came the promise that whoever wore her “habit” devoutly would be assured of eternal salvation. This is the Scapular promise of eternal perseverance.
Carmelites have always regarded themselves as “Brothers of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel,” and place their lives of Christ-centered prayer under her patronage.
~ Rev. Eamon R. Carroll, O. Carm.

Signs in Ordinary Human Life
The world in which we live is full of material things which have symbolic meaning to us, such as, light, fire and water.
There are also, in every day life, experiences of relationships between human beings. These experiences express and symbolize deeper meanings in our lives. Sharing a meal is a sign of friendship; joining together in a national celebration is a sign of our identity.
We need signs and symbols to help us understand what is happening at present, or what happened before, and to give us an awareness of who we are, as individuals and as groups.

Signs in Christian Life
Jesus is the great sign and the embodiment of the Father’s love. he founded the Church as a sign and instrument of His love.
Christian life also has its signs. Jesus used bread, wine and water to help us understand higher things…things which we can neither see nor touch.
All our Christian celebrations, particularly the sacraments, are signs with special meaning. At the Eucharist the sign is bread and wine; during baptism it is water; as hands are laid on the sick it is the anointing with oil; and in the marriage ceremony it is the giving and receiving of rings. Each of these signs brings us into communion with God, Who, in different ways, is present in each of them.

The Scapular is a Sign of Mary
It is a sign approved by the Church and endorsed by the Crmelite Order as an external sign of Mary’s love for us. It confirms our love and trust in her, and our commitment to live like her.
With the passage of time,l people began to give symbolic meaning to the Scapular as a sign of commitment to follow Jesus Christ, our Savior, in the spirit of Mary.

The Scapular is not:

  • A magical charm to protect you
    An automatic guarantee of salvation
    An excuse for not living up to the demands of the Christian life
  • However the Scapular:

  • points to a renewed hope of encountering God in eternal life with the help of Mary’s protection and intercession
    stands for thee decision to follow Jesus and imitate Mary, calling us to be…
    – open to God and to His Will
    – guided by faith, hope and love
    – close to the needs of people
    – prayerful, penitent and chaste
    – conscious of God present in all that happens around us
  • In the art of spiritual warfare, I have often heard it referred to as a sort of shield. I think of it as an extra little sign, a personal reminder of devotion and commitment to the Blessed Virgin, through whom we strive to know and love Jesus and work for the salvation of souls.