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Sanctification in Daily Work
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40 Days For Life

40-days-lifeThis morning after Mass we had a table set up with brochures and signup sheets for the 40 Days For Life campaign. The next campaign is coming up soon.

From February 17 through March 28, teams in 156 cities from coast to coast in the United States – plus four Canadian provinces and three Australian states – will take part in this mission.

40 Days for Life is a community-based campaign that draws attention to the evil of abortion through the use of a three-point program:

* Prayer and fasting
* Constant vigil
* Community outreach

40 Days for Life takes a determined, peaceful approach to showing local communities the consequences of abortion in their own neighborhoods, for their own friends and families. It puts into action a desire to cooperate with God in the carrying out of His plan for the end of abortion in America.

The 40-day campaign tracks Biblical history, where God used 40-day periods to transform individuals, communities … and the entire world. From Noah in the flood to Moses on the mountain to the disciples after Christ’s resurrection, it is clear that God sees the transformative value of His people accepting and meeting a 40-day challenge.

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.

My Daily Prayers

It’s so important to be faithful in daily prayer but it’s sure not easy to do in a busy world and work day is it? However, we have the tools starting with our own memory. I’ve tried a lot of different tactics to make sure I remember the prayers that I choose to make as regular devotions. For example, I’ve made a laminated card to remind me to dedicate each hour of the work day to somebody or something. I’ve set a daily noon alarm on my phone to remind me to say the Angelus.

Speaking of the phone, I’m using mine more and more for this purpose. For example, on my iPhone I have the iBreviary app which is great for Morning and Evening Prayer and the daily Mass Readings. Besides those prayers I also have in my Liturgy of the Hours book a number of prayer cards that I say. Today I found them all online and pasted them into a pdf that I emailed to myself so that I can save them on my phone. This will save me traveling with a large, heavy book now!

In case you’re interested in what my daily prayer are besides Morning/Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours you can download the pdf file here: My Daily Prayers

Pray For Our Families

Pope BenedictYesterday Pope Benedict called on our Blessed Lady to protect families. Now is a great time to pray for all families and as usual, our Pope shows us the way. He spoke to a group of cloistered nuns.

. . . the Holy Father said: “To you I entrust my intentions, the intentions of the pastor of this diocese and the needs of everyone who lives in this land. In this Year for Priests I especially entrust you with clergy, seminarians and vocations. … Offer the Lord the sacrifice of your lives for their sanctification and for the good of souls”.

Benedict XVI went on to invoke “Mary’s maternal protection” on “the Successor of Peter and the Church entrusted to his care. … Queen of peace, obtain the gift of harmony and peace for peoples and for all humankind”, he said.

“Keep our families united, which today suffer threats from all sides, and make them centres of serenity and harmony where patient dialogue dissipates difficulties and contrasts. Watch especially over those that are divided or in crisis”.

The Pope called upon the Virgin to “make the will of those whom the Lord of the harvest calls to be workers in His vineyard firm and decided, so that, resisting all the temptations and pitfalls of the world, they may persevere generously in following the path they have taken and, with your maternal help, be witnesses of Christ, attracted by the brilliance of His Love”.

“Console those who weep, who suffer for human injustice; support those who waver under the burden of fatigue and look to the future without hope; encourage those who work to build a better world in which justice many triumph and fraternity reign, in which egoism, hatred and violence may end. May every form and expression of violence be overcome by the pacifying power of Christ”.

Beautiful Video Prayer for Priests!

“May they live the gift they have received with JOY!” (h/t Priest Year News):

Living a Holy Life in Today’s World

I was asked today about how to live a holy life in today’s world. The implication being that it is difficult to do in a society that seems bent on removing religion from our everyday life and being focused on wealth and possessions while finding someone else to blame for everything without accepting personal responsibility.

Yes it does seem difficult. It makes me think of a saying you see printed along with an image of Jesus that goes, “I never said it would be easy. I only said it would be worth it.” I’m not sure where that phrase comes from but I have thought of it often when trying to do something I know is right even when it isn’t easy. Like going to daily Mass when I’m traveling and in a city that I’ve never been to before and have a tight schedule due to the work that I’m doing. It is often not easy to do but after Mass I can truly say it was worth the effort!

As a cooperator of Opus Dei one of the key elements that drew me to it to start with is centered in this concept of “Sanctification in Daily Work.” To sanctify is to make holy and that’s what we are called to do as lay people in “the middle of the world.” So to me, the idea of living a holy life involves doing what is right and I look to my faith to teach me that.

I also think it’s necessary to work at becoming or being holy in the world today and fortunately our faith provides us with a number of tools to help us. Here are the things that I think are necessary:

  • Daily prayer done at specific times (first thing in morning and last at night). This can consist of the Rosary, morning offering, thanks before and after meals, etc.
  • A short reading from scripture, especially the New Testament.
  • A few minutes of mental prayer.
  • Daily Mass if possible.
  • A visit to Jesus in the Tabernacle.
  • Frequent confession.
  • Daily spiritual reading.

St. Josemaria says this in his book Friends of God:

You should not let them become rigid rules, or water?tight compartments. They should be flexible, to help you on your journey you who live in the middle of the world, with a life of hard professional work and social ties and obligations which you should not neglect, because in them your conversation with God still continues. Your plan of life ought to be like a rubber glove which fits the hand perfectly.

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.

Pray For Future Priests On Twitter

Archbishop EijkHere are a couple of Twitter feeds you should start following. One is for Archbishop Eijk of Utrecht and the other is for FuturePriests.com. The Archbishop has issued a call for prayers for vocations on Twitter.

If you’re Twitter savvy just use the #futurepriests hash tag in your tweets.

On Friday, June 19, Dutch Archbishop Eijk of Utrecht asked the world to join in prayer for vocations to the priesthood – using Twitter. Using one of the computers of the archdiocesan seminary in Utrecht, the bishop launched a ‘Global Twitter Campaign for Vocations’ by posting a call for prayer on the fast-growing social network. In his message, he invites his Twitter-followers to spread the initiative around the world.

“The world is in dire need of priests to celebrate the Eucharist, the heart and the source of our faith,” the archbishop said. “We want to join the Holy Father at the start of this ‘Year of the Priest’ by answering Jesus’ call to pray for workers to bring in the harvest (Luke 10:2). Twitter is one of the fastest growing social networks in the world, so it’s a great medium to get many people involved in this prayer-campaign.”

You can learn more on the Future Priests.com website. Here’s the homepage prayer:

Loving God,

Jesus urged us to pray
for workers for the harvest.
Through the intercession
of Saint Willibrord, patron saint
of our diocese, we ask you:
call young people to follow Jesus
as a priest, a deacon or in
consacrated life.

Through your Holy Spirit,
grant them the strength
to answer their calling.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father’s Day to all Dads everywhere. My Dad is not a computer kind of guy so I’ll call him later today to wish him well. Let’s all say a prayer to the patron saint of fathers, St.

Joseph.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.

Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.”

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.

Mathew 1:18-25

Let’s hope that fatherhood grows in our society. Former President George W. Bush said this on Father’s Day:

Responsible fatherhood is important to a healthy and civil society. Numerous studies confirm that children whose fathers are present and involved in their lives are more likely to develop into prosperous and healthy adults. Children learn by example; and they need their father’s presence as examples of virtue in their daily lives. A child’s sense of security can be greatly enhanced by seeing his parents in a loving and faithful marriage.”

I agree. So Dads, I hope you’re finding a way to spend time with your children. Even in today’s culture you can do simple things even after they’ve left home like call them, email them a message, send ’em a text message even.

I love my wife and my children and today I also hope and pray for them.

Most Gracious Advocate

Most Gracious AdvocateWhile it’s still the month of Mary I thought I’d post this image that I currently have in the sidebar.

It’s a photo of a print we have hanging up in the adoration chapel at the Cathedral of St. Joseph here in Jefferson City, MO. The print is signed by Charles Bosseron Chambers and titled, “Most Gracious Advocate.” It’s one of my favorite images of our Blessed Lady. If anyone knows where you can find one of these prints please let me know. I’ve searched online but have not found this image of his.

Here’s one of my favorite prayers which is a poem written by Mary Dixon Thayer. Archbishop Fulton Sheen made it very popular.

Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue

Lovely Lady dressed in blue
Teach me how to pray!
God was just your little boy,
Tell me what to say!

Did you lift Him up, sometimes,
Gently on your knee?
Did you sing to Him the way
Mother does to me?

Did you hold His hand at night?
Did you ever try
Telling stories of the world?
O! And did He cry?

Do you really think He cares
If I tell Him things
Little things that happen? And
Do the Angels’ wings

Make a noise? And can He hear
Me if I speak low?
Does He understand me now?
Tell me for you know.

Lovely Lady dressed in blue
Teach me how to pray!
God was just your little boy,
And you know the way.

Looking For Work Novena

Asking a saint for help with a particular problem is a long standing custom and for people who are looking for work I just found one on the Opus Dei website. You can find the full novena with this link (pdf).

During these times of economic crisis, many people have lost their jobs and face serious difficulties supporting their families. With his teaching about the sanctification of ordinary work, St. Josemaría is a natural intercessor for all those seeking work or anxious about losing their job.

Above is a link to a Novena for Work that thousands of people have used to ask St. Josemaría’s intercession for finding or keeping jobs. Use it yourself and send it along to any friends or relatives looking for work.

Each day of the 9-day prayer starts with a quotation from St. Josemaria and then an intention for work or to do a good job.

Evening of Recollection

Exposition at Immaculate Conception ChurchI just completed an evening of recollection at Immaculate Conception in Dardenne Prairie, MO. I’ll add a photo later since I’m posting this from my phone on the way home.

Fr. Jay Alvarez gave two meditation talks on St. Paul’s call to be an Apostle and proclaim the Gospel, something we’re all called to do.

Post update: Fr. Jay was taking points for his talk from the Holy Father’s General Audience of last September 10. Here are some key points from Pope Benedict’s remarks:

Therefore, according to St Paul’s conception, what is it that makes him and others apostles? In his Letters three principal characteristics of the true apostle appear. The first is to have “seen Jesus our Lord” (cf. 1 Cor 9: 1), that is, to have had a life-changing encounter with him. Similarly, in his Letter to the Galatians (cf. 1: 15-16) Paul was to say that he had been called or chosen, almost, through God’s grace with the revelation of his Son, in view of proclaiming the Good News to the Gentiles. In short, it is the Lord who appoints to the apostolate and not one’s own presumption. The apostle is not made by himself but is made such by the Lord; consequently the apostle needs to relate constantly to the Lord. Not without reason does Paul say that he is “called to be an apostle” (Rm 1: 1), in other words, “an apostle – not from men nor through human means, but “through Jesus Christ and God the Father” (Gal 1: 1). This is the first characteristic: to have seen the Lord, to have been called by him.

Read the rest of this post…

More Catholic iPhone Apps

I did a little searching in the iTunes Apps Store and found a few more apps you might be interested in.

: $3.99
: $27.99
: $4.99
: $32.99
: $3.99
: Free
(prayers): $0.99
: $0.99

Update on iBreviary App For iPhone

iBreviary App For iPhoneI’ve been using the on my iPhone for a while now and noticed that they’re now adding antiphons and even some songs.

This was an initial drawback but I think it was just a matter of time before they developed the app further.

So, if you don’t have your breviary or don’t want to travel with it then you might want to get this app on your iPhone! Since it also includes the Mass readings for the day, it’s very handy to use during Mass or if you can’t make it but want to read that day’s readings.