Posts Tagged With: St Francis of Assisi

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 19: 7 Quick Prayers

 

Rosary

“Return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning.”    

–Joel 2:12


I earnestly believe that the most important thing we can do for Lent, especially in light of what is happening in the Church and in the world, is to increase our time in prayer. It is our most powerful weapon, but I think it’s also our most undervalued one as well. So, instead of any more babbling from me, here are 7 quick prayers for Lent days and every day!

 

1: Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
by the Divine Power of God –
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

2: Oh My Jesus (Fatima Prayer)

Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins,
Save us from the fires of Hell
lead all souls to Heaven,
especially those most in need of thy mercy.

3: Divine Mercy Closing Prayer

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless
and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, 
look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us,
that in difficult moments we might not despair,
nor become despondent, 
but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will,
which is Love and Mercy itself.

4: The Jesus Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, son of God,
have mercy on me, a sinner.

5: Instrument of Peace

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

6: The Magnificat

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

7: Prayer to St. Maximillian Kolbe

Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe, your life of love and labor for souls
was sacrificed amid the horrors of a concentration camp
and hastened to its end by an injection of a deadly drug.
Look with compassion upon ___________________
who is now entrapped in addiction to drugs
and whom we now recommend to your powerful intercession.
Having offered your own life to preserve that of a family man,
we turn to you with trust, confident that you will understand and help.
Obtain for us the grace never to withhold our love and understanding,
nor to fail in persevering prayer that the enslaving bonds of addiction
may be broken and that full health and freedom may be restored to him / her whom we love.
We will never cease to be grateful to God who has helped us
and heard your prayer for us. 

 

There you have it. 6 pretty general prayers and 1 very specific. When I was quitting smoking, St. Maximilian seemed determined to be my patron for addiction, and lately, I’ve just felt that I needed to pass him on to someone else.

Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary for more quick takes!

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It’s Enough to Make You Sick

There was a gaping hole in the wall at Mass on Sunday for the second week in a row. Not a figurative one, though we’ve had one of those for a few months now. It’s a real, honest to goodness, gaping, ugly, dark hole in the wall. Our holy water fonts have been removed due to the flu season, and I couldn’t be more displeased. My sister-in-law agrees with the decision, citing the horribleness of the flu.

I continue to disagree. It’s holy water, for crying out loud! It’s been sanctified!5557860487_5d3ee179b3

At Mass last week, we were also told not to shake hands during the sign of peace for fear of spreading the flu. However, I joined a band of rag-tag renegades. We shook hands. For Pete’s sake, the sign of peace was originally the kiss of peace.

Unfortunately, I have further evidence to cite. When one of our deacons was giving us the tour of the church in RCIA, he said that one day he saw a woman slather her children’s hands with hand sanitizer after the sign of peace and he thought that was just wonderful.

Well I’m having a hard time with it.

Let me start off by saying that I’m incredibly sensitive to staph. Not just the really bad staph that is bad for everyone, but lots of staph. I am constantly getting staph infections and sitting on a public toilet is a game of Russian roulette. So, let me tell you, I know full well the power of germs. Therefore, I am actually hesitant to overuse antibacterial products because, well, it’s overkill and more and more research is showing it does more harm than good.  

I just don’t like the attitude. It’s an attitude of fear, when we should exercise an attitude of faith and family. How can we say, “We are the body of Christ…but I’m afraid to touch you.” How can we say, “I have faith in God, and I believe this water has been blessed…but I’m worried I’ll get the flu from it.” It strikes a bad chord with me. I’m not saying we should be careless by any means. If you have the flu, stay home! That’s why we have Eucharist ministers to bring the sacrament to the sick. And as for those prone to infection, well, as someone who is very prone to infection, I know what to do to take care of myself. Dousing myself in hand sanitizer every 5 minutes is not the answer. Avoiding shaking hands with my parish family isn’t either.

I’m torn here. I know I should submit to the authority of our deacons (our Priest would be that figurative gaping hole I alluded to earlier) but being told we shouldn’t touch…I’m not a touchy-feely person. I don’t like to be touched. But at the Mass, I want to embrace everyone around me! St. Francis embraced lepers for crying out loud. Many more great saints lived in filth with the sick as well. How is it acceptable for us to refuse to embrace each other?

I want my holy water back. As bad as it is to tell brothers and sisters in Christ that we can’t touch each other, to give credence to the idea that water that has been blessed will cause illness is an outright lack of faith. It’s enough to make me sick.

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Repatronizing: What Happens to the Saint You Cast Aside?

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When I was going through RCIA 6 years ago, I was unable to attend classes because I had to work every Sunday. I had make-up sessions with the deacon who was leading the class and every Sunday, Scott brought home copies of the day’s lessons for me to look over.

I hate to default to my most over-used excuse, but I was busy! I was working as a supervisor at a call center and I hadn’t quite figured out the law of diminishing returns, so I put in entirely too much overtime. I’ve admitted before that I didn’t prepare myself properly for confirmation, but that in no way invalidates my confirmation. I just have to, you know, catch up every now and then.

So when it came time to choose a saint, I had a difficult time. Finding a patron is a horrible experience. You have to, to some extent, define yourself. The patron of nurses certainly won’t do for someone who faints at the sight of a syringe! So who am I?

I wasn’t sure. I picked St Theresa Benedicta of the Cross because, well,…I don’t know! There! I’ll say it! I just picked one! Go on and judge me if you like!

Years later, I was reading up on St Francis. I absolutely adore St Francis of Assisi. I have such a longing to live a simple life, to not be caught up in material things. So, I called my sponsor and asked him if I could change my patron saint.

At which point he scoffed at me for being such a dreadful Catholic and told me I should seek out the patron saint of indecisiveness. Hence the title of this blog, in which I seek to be a better Catholic.

I decided that St Francis would be my new patron anyway, scoffing or not. I was happy with that decision and promptly put a St Francis statue out on my front porch. When the wind knocked him over and decapitated him, I bought another. Recently, I knocked him over and his head went rolling off as well, but that’s really another story. St Francis made a wonderful patron for me, especially since I am an avid quilter and he is the patron of needleworkers! Perfect! If only I had taken the time to pick the correct patron in the first place.

That was years ago, and I’ve thought very little about the whole thing ever since. About a week ago, I decided to use Jennifer Fulwilers Saint Name Generator to pick a patron for the year, something I haven’t done before. I said a prayer, hit the button and…

St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross.

StTBenedicta-231x300

Not again.

Categories: Chasing After God, Saints | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Don’t I Just Feel Like a Camel?

Last weekend, I went to a baby shower for my oldest friend. We’ve known each other since kindergarten, and it’s so wonderful that she’s having a baby girl next month! We don’t get to see each other very often, and I hadn’t seen the house she and her husband bought before.

It was nice.

I loved how the kitchen had two entries, one from the hall and the other from the dining room, which was roomy and cozy all at the same time. I loved the bathroom with the big jet tub. And the walk-in closet that was bigger than my bathroom, and had room enough for a vanity. I wasn’t fond of the tile in the bathroom, but whatever. I like color and no one else does. That kitchen was just perfect, though.

I immediately started looking at houses online, and thinking about how horrible our house is. Granted, if I would just take a few days to do the touch-up painting, it would be much improved, but why settle for improved when we could buy something nicer.

Covet, covet, covet. And what’s worse, I thought nothing of it. “It’s just what people my age do,” I told myself. What? It’s what people my age do? What does that even mean?!?!?!? Despite the nonsensical nature of my quest, I continued exploring more expensive houses

My reality call came a few days later as I was reading Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics by Ross Douthot on my lunch break. The first few chapters have gone by at a break-neck pace, running down the societal conditions, the philosophers, the publications,  everything that created American-style Christianity. As we move into the rise of the prosperity theology, Douthot points to (naturally) the story of the rich young man we also read about in Sunday’s gospel this week. I suppose God knew I needed a double dose of this story this week.

And when he was gone forth into the way, a certain man running up and kneeling before him, asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may receive life everlasting? And Jesus said to him, Why callest thou me good? None is good but one, that is God. Thou knowest the commandments: Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, bear not false witness, do no fraud, honour thy father and mother. But he answering, said to him: Master, all these things I have observed from my youth. And Jesus looking on him, loved him, and said to him: One thing is wanting unto thee: go, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. Who being struck sad at that saying, went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.  Mark 10:17-22

It’s one of the pillars of Christ’s message here on earth. Sell what you have to benefit the poor. When the disciples don’t get the picture, Jesus gives one of His most famous (and famously misinterpreted) analogies:

Picture courtesy of my mother-in-law. No seriously.

And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus again answering, saith to them: Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches, to enter into the kingdom of God? It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. –Mark 10:24-25

I read a few years ago, that Jesus most likely actually said “rope” instead of “camel” just then. Makes a heck of a lot more sense. In Bad Religion, however, Douthot points something out about this story that I hadn’t thought of before..

 Who wondered the more, saying among themselves: Who then can be saved? –Mark 10:26

This message wasn’t something they smugly accepted, given their lack of riches. These guys walked away from what little fortunes they had. They walked away from comfort to follow Christ in poverty and yet when they heard this, they got worried. Whether it was a rope or a camel or a piano, they heard Jesus talking about them, not some rich guy. Why were they worried about it? Because they understood the message. It’s not about having money, it’s about desiring it.

For the desire of money is the root of all evils; which some coveting have erred from the faith, and have entangled themselves in many sorrows. –1Timothy 6:10

Once again, it is not having wealth that stains our souls, it is seeking it. I could be doing something worthwhile. Reading a book, watching a mass, cleaning the house–Scott would love that! Instead, I’m sitting at the computer, looking at houses, slowly increasing our maximum price range, because I want what everyone else has. What I have isn’t poisoning me, it’s what I’m chasing after.

I keep banging my head up against this wall. One minute I’m not concerned with material things, the next, I want to burn every possession I have and replace it with something “nicer.” For every time I push these desires aside, they rise up again 100 times. Sometimes I think I just can’t get my head straight.

And Jesus looking on them, saith: With men it is impossible; but not with God: for all things are possible with God. –Mark 10:27

Here I am, big clumsy camel, trying to work my way through the eye of the needle. Not because of what I have but because of what I want. God’s love is stronger than that. We forget that. We may say it and say we believe it, but at the end of the day, we let ourselves believe that our weaknesses are stronger than God. Every time we say, “I can’t help it. There’s no getting around it,” we are disbelieving the promises of grace.

Pope Benedict reminds us that God’s love is stronger. 

Jesus, however, understands the deep desire that exists in this person and, the Evangelist notes, turns a loving gaze on him: the gaze of God (cf. v. 21). However, Jesus also realizes what the weak point of that man is: his very attachment to his many possessions; and so he proposes that the man give it all to the poor in order that his treasure — and hence his heart — will no longer be on earth but in heaven, and he adds: “Come, follow me” (v. 21). But, instead of accepting Jesus’ invitation joyfully, the man went away sorrowfully (cf. v. 22) because he can not break away from his riches, that will never give him happiness and eternal life….. The history of the Church is full of examples of rich people who used their possessions in an evangelical way, even attaining holiness. Let us only think of St Francis, St Elizabeth of Hungary or St Charles Borromeo. May the Virgin Mary, Seat of Wisdom, help us to accept Jesus’ invitation joyfully, in order to enter the fullness of life. –Pope Benedict XVI

Aren’t we fortunate, that despite our many temptations, we are given, not only the fullness of grace, the very spirit of God to guide us, but also such a multitude of examples, of people who lived the gospel. They walked in the footsteps of Jesus to make it easier for us to see those footsteps and follow after.

With the election approaching and everyone talking about the economy and what’s in it for their checking account, let’s all pray that we may be invested in what really matters and not distracted by material wealth. Once again, I’m renewing my commitment to love and share what I have, and to truly be thankful for what God has given me, rather than being envious of what God has given someone else.

And I will try to remember that too many accessories clutter a camel.

Categories: Chasing After God, Everything Else, Meditations, What the Catholic Church Teaches | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Invocation of Wealth: Dear Reader, yes you DID come to the right place!

 

 

WordPress is ever so helpful. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the traffic stats, I get all sorts of information about what people are reading on my site and what search terms bring them here. After seeing a spike in traffic, I decided to check out the search terms. As usual, prayers were the top searches, but there was one that baffled me.

“the invocation of wealth.”

Now that’s something you don’t see every day. Something I don’t see every day, anyway. I googled it.

“for all those people who want to be rich and live a luxurious life”

“This invocation invokes the angel of wealth. You become his master. He will bring to you money, wealth and richness in an instant”

“You will role on the bed of wealth, gold and riches. I cannot even explain to you how powerful this one invocation is. “

How in the world would someone who typed in such a thing end up here?

Do NOT by any means feel that your search for riches has gone off track or that you’ve somehow ended up in the wrong place. Oh, no. Have I got news for you.

I’m filthy stinking rich.

I live in a 1400 square foot palace. This equates to about 130 meters, which is above average for most of the developed world.  I eat. Every day. Whatever I want. I have a deep freezer full of food, plus a refrigerator. Beef? Chicken? Turkey? Tomatoes and corn? Fresh onions and peppers? Even if it’s not in season, I can find any old fruit or vegetable that I want. As I gaze around my cornucopia of food, food, food, if I decide, for example, that I want cheddar cheese on my sandwich and all I have is pepper jack, well, by golly, I can go down to the grocery store and every food I could ever want is available to me.

Open until midnight, no less.

I can complain about how expensive clothes are, but I can go down to Walmart or Target or Dollar General and get a complete outfit or two for less than a day’s wages. Ready to buy and in my size.

When I want to get more information on a particular topic, I can flip open my computer, type in my query and within seconds, I get results. If I want to go all out and read a book by an expert on the topic, I can grab my kindle and start reading within 30 seconds.

I have electric lights, so I can work all night if I so choose. My house is secure, with locks on the doors, so I’m safe at night. I have central heat and air, so even the weather can’t hurt me.

I have shelves full of little baubles, any pretty, shiny thing I want, I have. My closet is bursting with clothes for work, for play. Shoes for comfort, for sport, for work.

I have a car. It also has a heater and air conditioner. It’s very reliable and rarely has any problems. When I do have a problem, I take it to the mechanic and have it taken care of immediately by a professional who knows what he’s doing.

Sometimes people look at my car, my house, my ratty purse, and they sneer at me. What I have doesn’t meet their standard. What I have is poor. Well, I’ve got news for you, I’m not poor! I am wealthy! But so much of what I have I don’t need. I have so much I ought to get rid of because it’s just a distraction.

I have everything. But I want less!

If things were the secret to happiness, Americans would be falling in the streets, delirious for joy! But there is nothing material that will give you lasting joy. Chasing after riches is fruitless and void. If you’re a middle class American such as myself, despite what others may have told you, you already have an abundance, beyond what is common in this world. Beyond what the wealthiest citizens had 100 years ago. You already have it all. More isn’t going to make you happy.

Don’t believe what the health and wealth preachers tell you. Jesus had NOTHING. He told us not to lay up earthly treasures for ourselves, but to seek the Kingdom. St. Clare and St. Francis are two wonderful examples of real people who turned away from riches, took in lepers, and turned to God. In sickness and poverty, they had unspeakable joy because they knew God and lived the Gospels. Their lives forever point to Jesus.

Well, I’ll stop rambling and let you have it. Without further ado, the Invocation of Wealth:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God. Have mercy on me, a sinner.

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