30 June 2010

First Holy Martyrs of the Church of Rome

30 JUNE 2010. At the end of June, the Church celebrates the first holy martyrs of Rome, that received the crown of martyrdom under the persecution of the Church by Emporer Nero after the burning of Rome in A.D. 64. We hear of these holy martyrs from two principle sources: from the pagan writer Tacitus, in his Annales (15, 44), and from Pope Clement in his letter to the Corinthians (chapters 5 and 6).

Below are the legacies of these first holy martyrs:

 The Torches of Nero, Henryk Siemiradzki
Nero fastened the guilt [for the great fire of Rome] and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.

Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed.
(Tacitus, Annales, 15, 44)


Let us leave behind the examples from times of old, and come to those who struggled closest to us; let us consider the noble models of our own generation. It was through jealousy and envy that the greatest and most upright pillars of the Church were persecuted and struggled unto death. Let us set before our eyes the good apostles. First of all, Peter, who because of unreasonable jealousy, suffered not merely once or twice but many times, and , having thus given his witness, went to the place of glory that he deserved. It was through jealousy and conflict that Paul showed the way to the prize for perseverance. He was put in chains seven times, sent into exile, and stoned; a herald both in the east and the west, he achieved a noble fame by his faith. He taught justice to all the world and, he gave his witness before those in authority; then he left this world and was taken up into the holy place, a superb example of endurance.

Around these men with their holy lives there gathered a great thong of the elect, who, though victims of jealousy, gave us the finest example of endurance in the midst of many indignities and tortures. Through jealousy women were tormented like Dirce or the daughters of Danaus, suffering terrible and unholy acts of violence. But they courageously finished the course of faith and despite their bodily weakness won a noble prize. It was jealousy that separated wives from husbands, and violated the words of our father Adam: This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. Jealousy and strife have overthrown cities and uprooted mighty nations.

We are writing this, beloved, not only for your admonition but also as a reminder to ourselves; for we are placed in the same arena, and the same contest lies before us. Hence we ought to put aside vain and useless concerns and go straight to the glorious and venerable norm which is our tradition, and we should consider what is good, pleasing and acceptable in the sight of him who made us. Let us fix our gaze on the blood of Christ, realizing how precious it is to his Father, since it was shed for our salvation and brought the grace of repentance to all the world.
(Pope Clement I, Letter to the Corinthians, Liturgy of the Hours)

Prayer

Father,
you sanctified the Church of Rome
with the blood of its first martyrs.
May we find strength from their courage
and rejoice in their triumph.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

28 June 2010

Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul

29 JUNE 2010. Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, the rock of the Church and preachers to the gentiles and, in fact, all the world.

Today is also the annual presentation of the pallium (image below) - given to each new metropolitan archbishop as a sign of his authority and his communion with his fellow bishops, and most importantly, the bishop of Rome.

In full, then, the Holy Father's homily from this morning.
Dear brothers and sisters!

The biblical texts of this Eucharistic Liturgy of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, in their great wealth, highlight a theme that could be summarized thus: God is close to his faithful servants and frees them from all evil, and frees the Church from negative powers. It is the theme of the freedom of the Church, which has a historical aspect and another more deeply spiritual one.

This theme runs through today's Liturgy of the Word. The first and second readings speak, respectively, of St Peter and St Paul, emphasizing precisely the liberating action of God in them. Especially the text from the Acts of the Apostles describes in abundant detail the intervention of the Angel of the Lord, who releases Peter from the chains and leads him outside the prison in Jerusalem, where he had been locked up, under close supervision, by King Herod (cf. at 12.1 to 11). Paul, however, writing to Timothy when he feels close to the end of his earthly life, takes stock which shows that the Lord was always near him and freed him from many dangers and frees him still by introducing him into His eternal Kingdom ( see 2 Tim 4, 6-8.17-18). The theme is reinforced by the Responsorial Psalm (Ps 33), and also finds a particular development in the Gospel of Peter's confession, where Christ promises that the powers of hell shall not prevail against his Church (cf. Mt 16:18).

Observing closely we note a certain progression regarding this issue. In the first reading a specific episode is narrated that shows the Lord's intervention to free Peter from prison. In the second Paul, on the basis of his extraordinary apostolic experience, is convinced that the Lord, who already freed him "from the mouth of the lion "delivers him" from all evil", by opening the doors of Heaven to him. In the Gospel we no longer speak of the individual Apostles, but the Church as a whole and its safekeeping from the forces of evil, in the widest and most profound sense. Thus we see that the promise of Jesus - "the powers of hell shall not prevail" on the Church – yes, includes the historical experience of persecution suffered by Peter and Paul and other witnesses of the Gospel, but it goes further, wanting to protect especially against threats of a spiritual order, as Paul himself writes in his Letter to the Ephesians: " For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens"(Eph 6:12).

Indeed, if we think of the two millennia of Church history, we can see that - as the Lord Jesus had announced (cf. Mt 10.16-33) – Christians have never been lacking in trials, which in some periods and places have assumed the character of real persecution. These, however, despite the suffering they cause, are not the greatest danger for the Church. In fact it suffers greatest damage from what pollutes the Christian faith and life of its members and its communities, eroding the integrity of the Mystical Body, weakening its ability to prophesy and witness, tarnishing the beauty of its face. This reality is already attested in the Pauline Epistle. The First Epistle to the Corinthians, for example, responds to some problems of divisions, inconsistencies, of infidelity to the Gospel which seriously threaten the Church. But the Second Letter to Timothy – of which we heard an excerpt - speaks about the dangers of the "last days", identifying them with negative attitudes that belong to the world and can infect the Christian community: selfishness, vanity, pride, love of money, etc. (cf. 3.1 to 5). The Apostle’s conclusion is reassuring: men who do wrong - he writes - "will not make further progress, for their foolishness will be plain to all" (3.9). There is therefore a guarantee of freedom promised by God to the Church, it is freedom from the material bonds that seek to prevent or coerce mission, both through spiritual and moral evils, which may affect its authenticity and credibility.

The theme of the freedom of the Church, guaranteed by Christ to Peter, also has a specific relevance to the rite of the imposition of the pallium, which we renew today for thirty-eight metropolitan archbishops, to whom I address my most cordial greeting, extending with it affection to all who have wanted to accompany them on this pilgrimage. Communion with Peter and his successors, in fact, is the guarantee of freedom for the Church's Pastors and the Communities entrusted to them. It is highlighted on both levels in the aforementioned reflections. Historically, union with the Apostolic See, ensures the particular Churches and Episcopal Conferences freedom with respect to local, national or supranational powers, that can sometimes hinder the mission of the ecclesial Church. Furthermore, and most essentially, the Petrine ministry is a guarantee of freedom in the sense of full adherence to truth and authentic tradition, so that the People of God may be preserved from mistakes concerning faith and morals. Hence the fact that each year the new Metropolitans come to Rome to receive the pallium from the hands of the Pope, must be understood in its proper meaning, as a gesture of communion, and the issue of freedom of the Church gives us a particularly important key for interpretation. This is evident in the case of churches marked by persecution, or subject to political interference or other hardships. But this is no less relevant in the case of communities that suffer the influence of misleading doctrines or ideological tendencies and practices contrary to the Gospel. Thus the pallium becomes, in this sense, a pledge of freedom, similar to the "yoke" of Jesus, that He invites us to take up, each on their shoulders (Mt 11:29-30). While demanding, the commandment of Christ is "sweet and light" and instead of weighing down on the bearer, it lifts him up, thus the bond with the Apostolic See – while challenging – sustains the Pastor and the portion of the Church entrusted to his care, making them freer and stronger.

I would like to draw a final point from the Word of God, in particular from Christ's promise that the powers of hell shall not prevail against his Church. These words may also have a significant ecumenical value, since, as I mentioned earlier, one of the typical effects of the Devil is division within the Church community. The divisions are in fact symptoms of the power of sin, which continues to act in members of the Church even after redemption. But the word of Christ is clear: " Non praevalebunt – it will not prevail" (Matt. 16:18). The unity of the Church is rooted in its union with Christ, and the cause of full Christian unity - always to be sought and renewed from generation to generation - is well supported by his prayer and his promise. In the fight against the spirit of evil, God has given us in Jesus the 'Advocate', defender, and after his Easter, "another Paraclete" (Jn 14:16), the Holy Spirit, which remains with us always and leads the Church into the fullness of truth (cf. Jn 14:16; 16:13), which is also the fullness of charity and unity. With these feelings of confident hope, I am pleased to greet the delegation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which, in the beautiful custom of reciprocal visits, participates in the celebrations of the patron saints of Rome. Together we thank God for progress in ecumenical relations between Catholics and Orthodox, and we renew our commitment to generously reciprocate to God's grace, which leads us to full communion.

Dear friends, I cordially greet all of you: Cardinals, Brother Bishops, Ambassadors and civil authorities, in particular the Mayor of Rome, priests, religious and lay faithful. Thank you for your presence. May the Saints Peter and Paul help you to grow in love for the holy Church, the Mystical Body of Christ the Lord and messenger of unity and peace for all men. May they also help you to offer the hardships and sufferings endured for fidelity to the Gospel with joy for her holiness and her mission. May the Virgin Mary, Queen of Apostles and Mother of the Church, always watch over you and especially over the Ministry of metropolitan archbishops. With her heavenly help may you always live and act in that freedom that Christ has won for us. Amen.
  (Archbishop Wenski of Miami, Florida receives the pallium)

Saint Irenaeus

28 JUNE 2010. Today the Church celebrates the memorial of a Saint Irenaeus, a bishop and martyr of the early Church that dedicated himself to finding peace in the Church.

Saint Irenaeus was born around A.D. 130. He was educated in Symrna and became a disciple of Saint Polycarp, the bishop in that city (and, tradition tells, a disciple of Saint John the Apostle). During the persecution of Marcus Aurelius, in A.D. 177 Irenaeus was ordained a priest at Lyons and shortly after was ordained bishop of Lyons. He composed many works that defended the Catholic faith against the Gnostic heresy and other untruths, and it is believed that he received the martyr's crown in about A.D. 202.

Generally accepted as the most important of Saint Irenaeus' writings, Adversus Haereses ("Against Heresies") is a five volume refutation of the Gnostic heresy, that seeks to persuade, through reason and reliance on Holy Scripture, the error of Gnosticisim. Battling against heresy, Saint Irenaeus' writings also disclose that the true path to Scripture interpretation--to the oral teaching tradition of the Chruch--is only through the bishops of the Church.

Saint Irenaeus' theology centered on his teaching of the unity of Christ with the God the Father and the Holy Spirit, in contrast to the Gnostic beliefes that divided the nature of God. And, Saint Irenaeus was among the first of the Church fathers to develop a full mariology to explain and teach Mary's role in salvation history.

Prayer

Father,
you called Saint Irenaeus to uphold your truth
and bring peace to your Church.
By his prayers renew us in faith and love
that we may always be intent
on fostering unity and peace.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

27 June 2010

THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

27 JUNE 2010. Today the Church celebrates the thirteenth Sunday in ordinary time. Thus begins the summer vacation season, both here in the United States, and in the Vatican where the curia will take its yearly break and our Holy Father will retreat to Castel Gandolfo until September.

Today's readings can be found here.

A reflection will be posted later. Check back!

NOVUS: 
The focus of our lives must be loving our Lord, Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, and serving the Holy Trinity with the devotion of our lives poured out for God. Today's readings provide for us the focus that our Christian lives should have.

The first reading from the First Book of Kings details Elijah's call to Elisha, his attendant. When Elisha puts off Elijah, to handle the matters that he thinks must be done before following Elijah, he endangers his fulfillment of his vocation. (1 Kgs 19:20) In the same vein, from the Gospel from Saint Luke, we hear the colloquy between Jesus and an unnamed interlocutor:
And to another [Jesus] said, “Follow me.”But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Jesus cautions the man to whom He is speaking to not let the affairs of the world get in the way of God's work ("Let the dead bury their dead . . ."), but exhorts him to follow Him by going out to "proclaim the kingdom of God."

So in both the Old Testament and the Gospel readings we see the tension between serving God and fulfilling our worldly obligations. And, we hear from Christ's mouth that serving Him is to be our focus. But, that does not mean that we should neglect our worldly obligations either.

A mother that neglects to feed her infant because she is consumed in prayer, is not truly serving the Lord. Each of us has a vocation that the Lord brings to light in our lives. Some of us are parents, and some are not, some of us are married and some are not. In each of our vocations, though, and in whatever call to further vocations we receive in our lives, we must remain open to serving the Lord, and to focus our lives in that respect.

For parents, we must love and care for our children and teach them our Catholic faith, by our words and our actions. Daily prayer with our children, weekly (or more frequent) mass attendance, discussion of the saints and the teachings of our faith--these are all examples of service given to the Lord to fulfill a vocation of Christian parenthood.

Do all that you do out of love and in adoration of the Lord.

Lift up your daily life for the Lord, in whatever vocation that you have. Bless the Lord by serving Him! Focus on that.

This focus is needed because our free will leaves us open to sin. We have been given the great gift of free will, but in that we are capable of closing ourselves off from God. Our will can be exercised even to deny God's existence or simply to live as though God does not exist. That is why, in today's second reading, we hear these words of Saint Paul:
For freedom Christ set us free . . . [b]ut do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh . . . live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want.
So, we see that the "flesh"--the world--is not in-line with the Spirit, and, indeed, has not been since the time of Christ and His Apostles. Today's struggles of the faith against a faithless world is not new. That is why we must focus on serving the Lord. Only in serving God and following His commands do we live the freedom of our lives as we are destined to do by the Father and have been redeemed by the Son. Faithlessness, denial of God, living as though God does not exist, putting the Lord off to another day--all of these things keep us enslaved to the sin of selfishness. We are to focus on serving the Lord; serving ourselves entraps us in sin and death and rejects the freedom that Christ has won for us.

So, I pray that all of us will live in the Spirit--live in the freedom of Christ--serving our Lord and one another as Christ Jesus taught us; and those who are enslaved to sin and world will, by the grace of God the Holy Spirit, experience a true conversion of life. And, I pray that each of us will experience that same conversion to Christ each and every day--continually turning ourselves to Christ and recommitting to live in the freedom of the Spirit that has been so generously poured out upon us.

Five Fold Scapular Dressing Prayer


(To be said as you place the scapular across your shoulders, before dressing, at the beginning of each day.)

Holy Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ,
save us.
Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
protect us.
Holy Trinity,
we adore Thee.
Holy Mary, ever virgin Mother of God,
we venerate Thee and throw ourselves
under the mercy of the protection
of Your intercession.

Amen.

24 June 2010

Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

24 JUNE 2010. On today's Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, a prayer:

O God, 
You raised up St. John the Baptist 
to prepare a perfect people for Christ. 
Fill Your people with the joy of possessing His grace, 
and direct the minds of all the faithful 
in the way of peace and salvation.

Grant that as St. John was martyred for truth and justice, 

so we may energetically profess our Faith in You, 
and lead others to the Way, the Truth, and Eternal Life. 

Amen.

23 June 2010

The Holy Father's Catecheses Continued: Saint Thomas Aquinas

23 JUNE 2010. Today the Holy Father concluded the third of his catecheses on Saint Thomas Aquinas. Highlights of his second catechesis in the series can be found here, and the first can be found here. From the Vatican Information Service, we receive this report:
The Holy Father explained how St. Thomas' masterpiece, the "Summa Theologica", contains 512 questions and 2,669 articles in which the saint "precisely, clearly and pertinently" outlines the truths of faith as they emerge from "the teachings of Holy Scripture and of the Fathers of the Church, especially St. Augustine". This exertion "of the human mind was always illuminated - as St. Thomas' own life shows - by prayer, by the light that comes from on high.

"In his 'Summa'", the Pope added, "St. Thomas starts from the fact that God exists in three different ways: God exists in Himself, He is the principle and end of all things, so all creatures come from and depend upon Him. Secondly, God is present through His Grace in the life and activity of Christians, of the saints. Finally, God is present in a very special way in the person of Christ, and in the Sacraments which derive from His work of redemption".

"St. Thomas dedicates special attention to the mystery of the Eucharist, to which he was particularly devoted", said Benedict XVI, encouraging people "to follow the example of the saints and love this Sacrament. Let us participate devotedly in Mass in order to obtain its spiritual fruits; let us feed from the Body and Blood of the Lord that we may be incessantly nourished by divine Grace; let us pause willingly and often in the company of the Blessed Sacrament".

The Holy Father went on: "What St. Thomas explained with academic rigour in his main theological works such as the ' Summa Theologica' was also expressed in his preaching", the content of which "corresponds almost in its entirety to the structure of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Indeed, in a time such as our own of renewed commitment to evangelisation, catechism and preaching must never lack the following fundamental themes: what we believe, i.e., the Creed; what we pray, i.e., the Our Father and the Ave Maria; and what we live as biblical revelation teaches us, i.e., the law of the love of God and neighbour and the Ten Commandments".

"In his brief 'Devotissima expositio super symbolum apostolorum', St. Thomas explains the importance of faith. Through it, he says, the soul is united to God, ... life is given a clear direction and we can easily overcome temptations. To those who object that faith is foolish because it makes us believe something that does not enter into the experience of the senses, St. Thomas offers a very detailed response, claiming that this is an inconsistent objection because human intelligence is limited and cannot know everything.

"Only if we were able to have perfect knowledge of all things visible and invisible would it be foolish to accept truth out of pure faith", said the Pope. "Moreover, as St. Thomas observes, it is impossible to live without entrusting ourselves to the experience of others, when our personal knowledge does not extend far enough. Thus it is reasonable to have faith in God Who reveals Himself, and in the witness of the Apostles".

Commenting on the article of the Creed concerning the incarnation of the Divine Word, St. Thomas says that "the Christian faith is reinforced in the light of the mystery of the Incarnation; hope emerges more trustingly at the thought that the Son of God came among us as one of us, to communicate His divinity to mankind; charity is revived because there is no more evident sign of God's love for us than to see the Creator of the universe Himself become a creature", said the Holy Father.

"St. Thomas, like all saints, was greatly devoted to the Blessed Virgin", Pope Benedict concluded. "He gave her a stupendous title: 'Triclinium totius Trinitatis'; in other words, the place where the Trinity finds repose because, thanks to the Incarnation, the three divine persons dwell in her as in no other creature, and experience the delight and joy of living in her soul full of Grace. Through her intercession we can obtain any kind of help".
AG/ VIS 20100623 (720)

Blessed Innocent V

23 JUNE 2010. Today the Dominican Order remembers the feast day of Blessed Innocent V, friar and pope.

Pope Blessed Innocent V (Petrus A. Tarentasia) was the first of the Dominican Order to ascend to the papal throne. Born in about A.D. 1225 at, what is today, southeastern France, Blessed Innocent V joined the Dominican Order at a young age and gained fame as a preacher.

Joining the Dominican Order at the age of 16, Blessed Innocent V, graduated from the University of Paris as a Master of Sacred Theology in A.D. 1259. At the University of Paris he won great distinction and was sometimes referred to at the institution as the most famous doctor (Doctor famosissimus). He collaborated with Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Albert the Great to develop a rule of study for the Dominican Order.

After a period as the Dominican Provincial in France, Tarentasia became Archbishop of Lyons in A.D. 1272 and Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia in A.D. 1273. He played a prominent role in the Second Ecumenical Council of Lyons, at which he delivered two discourses to the assembled council fathers and delivered the funeral oration for Saint Bonaventure.

After the death of Gregory X, Tarentasia was elected Pope on 21 January 1276, and took the name Innocent V. His papal motto was "My eyes are ever toward the Lord." But, Blessed Innocent V had a very short pontificate, dying just more than six months later on 22 June 1276. In  his short pontificate, he worked to restore union with the Eastern Church. He is the author of a number of scholarly works in philosophy, theology, and canon law, including a series of commentaries on the Letters of Saint Paul and his principle work, the "Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard."

Blessed Innocent V was beatified in A.D. 1898.

Prayer

God of truth,
you bestowed on Blessed Innocent
the gifts of knowledge and prudence
and made him a promoter of peace and unity.
By the help of his prayers
may we cherish what is of heaven
and in perfect unity follow what is right.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

21 June 2010

This from the College World Series . . .

FSU defeats UF 8-5. GO NOLES!

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

21 JUNE 2010. Today the Church remembers the feast day of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, a sixteenth century Jesuit who is venerated for his poverty of spirit, despite a noble heritage, and his purity of heart in serving the Lord.

Saint Aloysius was born to noble parents on 9 March 1568 at his family's castle in Castiglione delle Stiviere in the northern Italian Papal States. His father wanted him to be a soldier, and his training for warfare began at an early age, but Saint Aloysius was also schooled in other subjects, such as languages. At the age of 8 he was sent with his brother to Florence to serve in the court of Grand Duke Francesco I de'Medici. While he was there, Saint Aloysius suffered from a kidney ailment that would aggravate him for the rest of his life. During his illnes, Saint Aloysius spent a great deal of time in prayer, and it is said that he took a secret vow of chastity at the age of 9. In November 1579, Saint Aloysius and his brother were sent to the Duke of Mantua, where he was shocked by the violent and frivolous lifestyle he encountered.

Returning home to Castiglione in A.D. 1580, Saint Aloysius met Cardinal Charles Borromeo who gave him first communion on 22 July 1580. After reading a book about Jesuit missionaries, Saint Aloysius became determined to become a missionary and began practicing by studying the Catechism and teaching it to other boys during the summers. He then set his heart on becoming a priest, but his life was in constant motion as Saint Aloysius and his family moved to Spain and then back to Italy. However, determined to become a priest, Aloysius' mother finally relented to his joining the Jesuits, but his father was furious. Even his family tried to dissuade him from the priesthood, and especially from a religious order, because he would have to give up all rights to his inheritance and noble status.

However, in November 1585 Saint Aloysius did renounce his noble birthright and inheritance and went to Rome to join the Society of Jesus. On 25 November 1585, he was accepted into the Jesuit Roman novitiate after an audience with Pope Sixtus V (which Aloysius gained due to his noble status). Once in the novitiate, the Jesuits asked Aloysius to moderate his ascetic practices to better be a part of the community with the other novitiates.

During this novitiate period Saint Aloysius' ill health still dogged him. He continued to suffer from the kidney malady, but also from a skin disease, insomnia, and chronic headaches.He was sent to Milan for a time for his studies, but had to return to Rome because of poor health. On 25 November 1587 Saint Aloysius took three vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. In February and March of A.D. 1588 he received minor orders and soon thereafter began his theology studies for the priesthood.

In A.D. 1589 he was called to Mantua to mediate a dispute between his brother Ridolfo and the Duke of Mantua. He returned to Rome in May 1590, and later in the year received a vision from the Archangel Gabriel that he would die within a year.

In A.D. 1591 the plague hit Rome, and the Jesuits opened a hospital to treat its victims. Saint Aloysius volunteered to serve in the hospital, but afraid of losing him, the Jesuits confined Aloysius' work to a ward that was supposed to serve those who did not suffer from the plague. However, it turned out that one of the patients in Aloysius' care did suffer from plague and on 3 March 1951 (just shy of his 23rd birthday) Saint Aloysius began to show symptoms of plague. To everyone's surprise, Aloysius did not succumb immediately, but his ill health continued to deteriorate. After another vision from the Archangel Gabriel he learned that he would die on the Octave of the Feast of Corpus Christi. On that day he seemed very well in the morning, but insisted that he would die before the day's end. He received the last sacraments from his confessor, Cardinal Bellarmine, and recited the prayers of the dying. Just before midnight on 21 June 1591, Saint Aloysius was born to eternal life in Christ. Tradition tells that the last word he spoke was the Holy Name of Jesus.

His most notable virtue was purity, and it was said that he did not even look at his queen, but recognized her by the sound of her voice. So great was the community's belief in his holiness that he was venerated as a saint soon after his death. Just 14 years after his death Saint Aloysius was beatified by Pope Paul V on 19 October 1605. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII on 31 December 1726.

Prayer

O blessed Aloysius,
adorned with angelic virtues,
I thy most unworthy suppliant recommend specially to thee
the chastity of my soul and body,
praying thee by thy angelic purity to plead for me
with Jesus Christ the Immaculate Lamb, 

and His most Holy Mother,
Virgin of virgins, that they would vouchsafe
to keep me from all grievous sin.
Never suffer me to be defiled with any stain of impurity;
but when thou dost see me in temptation,
or in danger of falling,
then remove far from my mind all evil thoughts 

and unclean desires,
and awaken in me the memory of eternity to come,
and of Jesus crucified;
impress deeply in my heart a sense of the holy fear of God;
and kindling in me the fire of Divine love,
enable me so to follow thy footsteps here on earth,
that in heaven I may be made worthy to enjoy with thee
the vision of our God for ever.

Amen.

20 June 2010

TWELFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

20 JUNE 2010. Today the Church celebrates the twelfth Sunday in ordinary time, giving focus to the universality of the Christ's salvation and the responsibility that each of us bears for that great gift. Today's readings can be found here.

For this Sunday reflection, let's take a close look at several selections from today's readings. 

First, review this selection from the first reading from the Book of the Prophet Zechariah:  I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and petition . . . . (Zech 12:10) Next, consider the words of the second reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians: For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ . . . And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendant,heirs according to the promise. (Gal 3:27, 29) Finally, examine the words of Christ from today's Gospel reading from the Gospel according to Saint Luke: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Lk 9:23-24)

Rest. Now, think about these selections. Pause a minute to quietly reflect on them.

Then, re-read these selections altogether:
I will pour out on the house of David 
and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem 
a spirit of grace and petition . . . .
For all of you who were baptized into Christ 
have clothed yourselves with Christ . . . 
And if you belong to Christ, 
then you are Abraham’s descendant,
heirs according to the promise. 
“[But,] [i]f anyone wishes to come after me, 
he must deny himself and take up his cross daily
and follow me. 
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”
Rest again. Focus on the images or concepts in your mind portrayed by the words. Consider these words and the questions they bring to mind in yourself. Do not cut-off any of your thought. If your mind is focused on these words and your soul is intent on its focus on God, allow your mind to go where it is led by the Holy Spirit. Peruse again the entire selection of texts as you consider quietly the thoughts that the Holy Spirit brings to light in these words.

When you have concluded your own thoughtful examination of the words of Christ and the other selections of Holy Scripture, thank the Lord for the opportunity to do so, the intellect to understand, and the grace and gifts of the Holy Spirit poured out upon us.

From this lectio divina, then, comes my short reflection:

Through all of history, God, the unbegotten Father and creator of the universe, has had the Word, which has been present from the beginning of what humanity describes as time. "In the beginning was the word . . . ." From this beginning, all of us, Israelites today because of our baptism in Christ Jesus, have been predestined to share in the everlasting inheritance of Christ. Mary, the Blessed Virgin, was the first of the human family to taste this everlasting joy in her bodily assumption into heaven. Yet, all of us, regardless of human distinction (origin, race, language, ethnicity, etc.,), have open the possibility to share in this same joy. The joy of Christ overshadows and destroys all human pain, suffering, and even death. However, this joy also puts a great responsibility on our shoulders. To share in this joy, we must live for Christ. Not just in a way that we think is good or worthwhile in the terms of contemporary culture, but we must live a life that has at its core and is focused entirely on following Christ. As Christ was meek and humble. So must we be meek and humble. As Christ denied Himself for the greater sacrifice that He made for all humanity, we too must deny ourselves when our own wants are in conflict with Him, in a sacrifice for Him.

But, we will fail! All of us will fail to live perfectly in union with and in the image of Christ. We are only of human estate. So, when we fail, we must put all our reliance on God. Through the graces of the Holy Spirit poured out abundantly on us in our daily lives, we must cling to Christ and His bride, the Church. Cherish Her teachings and follow them. Despite sin, which is present in every human life and in every human institution, cling to the truth of Christ. We must live meekly and humbly not of our own accord, but in total spiritual poverty, relying only on the Holy Trinity, whose gifts are poured out in the sacraments, to provide for us.

A Prayer for Fathers


St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus and chaste husband of Mary, you passed your life in loving fulfillment of duty. You supported the holy family of Nazareth with the work of your hands. Kindly protect all fathers and those who trustingly come to you. You know their aspirations, their hardships, their hopes. They look to you because they know you will understand and protect them. You too knew trial, labor and weariness. But amid the worries of material life your soul was full of deep peace and sang out in true joy through intimacy with God's Son entrusted to you and with Mary, his tender Mother. Assure all fathers under your protection that they do not labor alone. Teach them to find Jesus near them and to continually look to Him faithfully as you have done.

Amen.

19 June 2010

Psalm 107: From Today's Office of Readings

Psalm 107

Thanksgiving for deliverance

This is God's message to the sons of Israel; the good news of peace proclaimed through Jesus Christ (Acts 10:36).

I

"O give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his love endures for ever."

Let them say this, the Lord's redeemed,
whom he redeemed from the hand of the foe
and gathered from far-off lands,
from east and west, north and south.

Some wandered in the desert, in the wilderness,
finding now way to a city they could dwell in.
Hungry they were and thirsty;
their soul was fainting within them.

Then they cried to the Lord in their need
and he rescued them from their distress
and he led them along the right way,
to reach a city they could dwell in.

Let them thank the Lord for his love,
for the wonders he does for men.
For he satisfies the thirsty soul;
he fills the hungry with good things.

Some lay in darkness and in gloom,
prisoners in misery and chains,
having defied the words of God
and spurned the counsels of the Most High.
he crushed their spirit with toil;
they stumbled; there was no one to help.

Then they cried to the Lord in their need
and he rescued them from their distress.
He led them forth from darkness and gloom
and broke their chains to pieces.

Let them thank the Lord for his goodness,
for the wonders he does for men;
for he bursts the gates of bronze
and shatters the iron bars.

II

Some were sick on account of their sins
and afflicted on account of their guilt.
They had a loathing for every food;
they came close to the gates of death.

Then they cried to the Lord in their need
and he rescued them from their distress.
he sent forth his word to heal them
and saved their life from the grave.

Let them thank the Lord for his love,
for the wonders he does for men.
Let them offer a sacrifice of thanks
and tell of his deeds with rejoicing.

Some sailed to the sea in ships
to trade on the mighty waters.
These men have seen the Lord's deeds,
the wonders he does in the deep.

For he spoke; he summoned a gail,
raising up the waves of the sea.
Tossed up to heaven, then into the deep;
their soul melted away in their distress.

They staggered, reeled like druken men,
for all their skill was gone.
Then they cried to the Lord in their need
and he rescued them from their distress.

He stilled the storm to a whisper;
all the waves of the sea were hushed.
They rejoiced because of the calm
and he led them to the heaven they desired.

Let them thank the Lord for his love,
the wonders he does for men.
Let them exalt him in the gathering of the people
and praise him in the meeting of the elders.

III

He changes streams into desert,
springs of water into thirsty ground,
fruitful land into a salty waste,
for the wickedness of those who live there.

But he changes desert into streams,
thirsty ground into springs of water.
There he settles the hungry
and they build a city to dwell in.

They sow fields and plant their vines;
these yield crops for the harvest.
He blessed them; they grow in numbers.
He does no let their herds decrease.

He pours contempt upon princes,
makes them wander in trackless wastes.
They diminish, are reduced to nothing
by oppression, evil and sorrow.

But he raises the needy from distress;
makes families numerous as a flock.
The upright see it and rejoice
but all who do wrong are silenced.

Whoever is wise, let him heed these things
and consider the love of the Lord.

Psalm-Prayer

     You fill the hungry with good things, Lord God, and break the sinner's chains. Hear your people who call to you in their need and lead your Church from the shadows of death. Gather us from sunrise to sunset, that we may grow together in faith and love and give lasting thanks for your kindness. 

15 June 2010

Holy Father Extols the Generosity of Faith of Two New Blesseds

15 JUNE 2010. From the Holy Father's comments before and after praying the Angelus on Sunday with pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square, we get a glimpse of the tremendous example of Christian living that the Church now has in two new Blesseds: Blessed Jerzy PopieĊ‚uszko (beatified on 6 June 2010 in Warsaw, Poland) and Blessed Manuel “Lolo” Lozano Garrido (beatified on 12 June 2010 in Linares, Spain).

Of Blessed Father Jerzy, the Holy Father said:
He exercised his generous and courageous ministry alongside those who worked for freedom, for the defense of life and its dignity. His work in the service of goodness and truth was a sign of contradiction for the regime that governed Poland at that time. The love of the Heart of Christ led him to give his life, and his witness was the seed of a new springtime in the Church and society. If we look at history we can observe that so many pages of authentic spiritual and social renewal have been written by the contribution of Catholic priests, animated only by the passion for the Gospel and for man, for his true religious and civil liberty. How many initiatives of integral human promotion have begun in the intuition of a priestly heart!

After the Angelus, in comments made in Spanish, the Holy Father went on to witness to the example of Blessed Lolo:
[He] was a faithful layman who knew how to irradiate the love of God with his example and his writings, even among the sufferings that confined him to a wheelchair for nearly 28 years. At the end of his life, he also lost his sight, but he continued to win hearts for Christ with his serene joy and his unwavering faith.

Journalists can find in him an eloquent testimony of the good that can be done when one's pen reflects the greatness of the soul and is put at the service of truth and noble causes.

13 June 2010

Prayer for the Forgiveness of Daily Neglects

Eternal Father,
I offer the Sacred Heart of Jesus with all its love,
all its sufferings and all of its merits:

First,
To expiate all the sins I have committed this day
and during all my life.

Glory Be to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now,
and ever shall be, 
world without end. 
Amen.

Second,
To purify the good I have done badly
this day and during all my life.

Glory Be to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now,
and ever shall be, 
world without end. 
Amen.

Third,
To supply for the good I ought to have done
and I have neglected this day and during all my life.

Glory Be to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now,
and ever shall be, 
world without end. 
Amen.

ELEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

13 JUNE 2010. Today the Church celebrates the eleventh Sunday in ordinary time. With the newness of our Easter celebration now worn and the solemnities that follow our Easter season now completed, we can look forward to this long period of ordinary time, through the hot summer, that will eventually lead to a new Advent in the Fall.

Be sure, this is not a season of monotony, nor a season of drudgery. Instead, this long period of ordinary time is a period where we, the faithful, have the opportunity to quietly endure in our faith with Christ who has so lovingly endured the whole history of human failure in sin. So, at the outset of the summer, I pray that we may each set ourselves about quietly repairing our relationships with Christ. Where sin has chipped away at that relationship, or built a barrier between our hearts and the Sacred Heart, I pray that distance will erased through contrition and reception of the sacraments.

Today's readings can be found here.

The Gospel reading today relays a story from the Gospel of Saint Luke that is familiar to many: Jesus dines with a Pharasee, where a sinful woman washes His feet with her tears, wipes them with her hair, and annoints them with perfumed oil. When questioned by the Pharasee as to why Christ would allow such a sinner to perform these acts for Him, Jesus gives us the parable of the two debtors that have been forgiven their debts. Here is the passage from Saint Luke in full:
A Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him,
and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table.
Now there was a sinful woman in the city
who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee.
Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment,
she stood behind him at his feet weeping
and began to bathe his feet with her tears.
Then she wiped them with her hair,
kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself,
“If this man were a prophet,
he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him,
that she is a sinner.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Simon, I have something to say to you.”
“Tell me, teacher, ” he said.
“Two people were in debt to a certain creditor;
one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty.
Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both.
Which of them will love him more?”
Simon said in reply,
“The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.”
He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon,
“Do you see this woman?
When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet,
but she has bathed them with her tears
and wiped them with her hair.
You did not give me a kiss,
but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered.
You did not anoint my head with oil,
but she anointed my feet with ointment.
So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven
because she has shown great love.
But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”
He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The others at table said to themselves,
“Who is this who even forgives sins?”
But he said to the woman,
“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another,
preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.
Accompanying him were the Twelve
and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities,
Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza,
Susanna, and many others who provided for them
out of their resources.
(Lk 7, 36 - 8, 3 NAB)

There are many messages that can be unpacked from this passage from Saint Luke's Gospel, but I want to reflect on the nature of the woman and how that nature might reflect the Church today. First, the woman is a sinner, and we can surmise that her sins are notorious because of the place in salvation history that she has attained as the "sinful woman." Second, we know that the woman sought out Christ and expressed by her emotion and her actions her deep contrition for her sins. She did not ask Jesus' forgiveness in her heart and then go about her day. Instead, she took the extraordinary step of coming to Christ, washing His feet with her tears, poured out with a sincere emotion of contrition, and then annointing Christ's feet. It could be said that the sinful woman is lavishing on Christ her love and her spirit of contrition.

We Church, the body of Christ on earth, are sinful too. Though we try to attain holiness for the glory of God, we are all sinners that in some way fail. Some have failings that are notorious, most of us do not reach notoriety with our sin, but we still at some point or another commit sins that build a wall between ourselves and our Savior. But, how do we respond? Do we merely ask for Christ's forgiveness in our hearts and, then, go about our lives? Or, do we stop and seek out Christ to express our contrition?

And, when we do confess our sins do we lavish on our Lord our emotion of sorrow and the gifts of ourselves given in thanksgiving for His love? That is what the woman really did in the passage from Saint Luke's Gospel, she poured out her very self for Christ. Reserving nothing, she comes pitiful to Christ and can only express herself by her tears. But, Christ knows her heart and He forgives her of her sin.

I once heard a Carthusian priest being interviewed, and the question posed to him was essentially this: "Why do you waste your life praying to God in solitude? Isn't there so much more good you could be doing outside of the cloister?" The answer moved me in a profound way. The Carthusian responded with this story from Saint Luke and said: just as the sinful woman pours herself out to Christ, we pour out our lives for Christ. Critics might well have said of the woman: "why waste your money on ointment for the feet of Jesus when you could have given that money to the poor?" But, the woman gave all she had in her contrite spirit to our Lord. And, we give all we have, our very lives, in our contrite spirit to the Lord.

Praise the Lord! Give thanks for all the blessings that we are given and even in our hardships, thank the Lord for the opportunity to persevere for His glory. I pray that all the faithful will have a spirit of complete love for our Lord so that we will each be drawn to pour ourselves out for the Lord in a spirit of true contrition.

10 June 2010

The Greatest of All is Charity


Faith and hope are at work only in the human person, but charity is at work in God. Faith can move mountains; charity creates the mountains, the heavens and the earth. Faith urges a creature, as one who is capable of loving, to make every effort to attain paradise. Charity entreats God, who is aflame with love, to descend to earth to enable humankind to reach heaven by means of God’s own charity. Faith says to humanity: Serve God as is fitting. Charity says: O God, take on human flesh and serve humanity, which is in your debt beyond what it possesses. Faith says to humanity: Strike the heavens and open them for yourself. Charity says: O God, break the heavens so that humanity may find them open. Faith teaches us to die for love of God; charity invites God to die for us and invites us to die for our God. Faith reveals God from a distance; charity brings humanity to God, for charity made God take on human flesh and makes humanity take so divinity.

Faith may be compared to a noble lady who only reigns here where we have no abiding city, but who looks for one in the future; charity is empress of heaven and earth. Faith is an inhabitant of the country; charity is a city dweller. Faith rules over a multitude of lowly creatures; charity commands angels. Faith is above its servants; charity is above its beloved children and the saints.

Give this some thought. If a world such as ours were located in the sun, how would this world be lighted, warmed, gladdened and governed? It certainly would not be by the sun’s rays, but only by its essence, since the sun would dude the entire world in its essence. But the sun does not light, warm, gladden or govern our world by itself, since it cannot come to us of itself, but by means of its rays which it sends us. The reason why the sun produces such effects by its rays is that it cannot come to us directly. Consider how much more this is true of God. The Father, like the sun, produces his ray. This is the Word, eternal and essential. The Father and the Word like the sun and its ray, produce the essential warmth, who is the Holy Spirit. Hence this divine sun is power, light and fire; Father, Son and Holy Spirit; power, truth and charity; one God and three persons. And this divine sun is all-powerful, all-enlightening and all-burning - not three powers, but one power; not three lights, but one light; not three fires, but one fire.

Nevertheless, a doubt may arise here. Since we said that we are all in God and that God is charity, from this it would appear that we are all in charity, so are all in truth and in that true power. This is false because few are in charity, while many are in error and falsehood and a rather large number are weak and frail. Let me respond first of all by giving some examples. There are many fish in the sunlight, but, since they are covered by water, they receive no warmth. There are many blind persons who walk in light, but do not see. There many vessels which contain food, but they do not eat. Hence it is not enough simply to be in a place to share in the inherent power of that place; a proper receptivity is necessary. A sick person may eat without deriving benefit from the food; a dead person may be placed in a fire, but does not feel its warmth. A person standing in the sunlight who is continually showered with could water will not get warm and will always be shivering.

And so, although we may be in the divine fire, which does not warm the body but the soul, we do not benefit from this divine fire, if we continue to pour the hail of the flesh, the ice of the world, and the wind of temptation on our souls. From what has been said it is necessary to keep the soul apart from these things, lest anyone remain hidden from its warmth, as the psalmist says.
 From On the Love of Charity, treatise, by Blessed John Dominic.

Blessed John Dominic

10 JUNE 2010. Today the Dominican Order celebrates the feast day (optional memorial) of Blessed John Dominic, a fourteenth century friar and bishop.

Although John had little education and suffered from a speech impediment that caused him to stammer and stutter, he possessed a tremendous drive to improve himself, overcome his obstacles, and serve our Lord. He also had a great memory, and later in life became a great theologian and preacher.

Born in A.D. 1365 at Florence, Italy, Blessed John spent a great deal of his youth in or around the Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella. He joined the Order at the age of 17 despite his lack of education and hi speech impediment, even while the Dominicans are scholars and preachers.

After entering the Order, Blessed John studied in Pisa and Florence and received a degree from the University of Paris. As a priest, Blessed John once believed that his speech impediment would threaten his vocation, but it was cured through the intervention of Saint Catherine of Siena. Blessed John spent 12 years in Venice as a preacher.


In A.D. 1392, Blessed John found himself to be the Vicar provincial serving in Rome. At the time, Blessed Raymond of Capua was the Master General of the Order, and he helped rebuild the Order after the ravages of the Plague and helped return regular discipline to the Order's members.


Blessed John founded Dominican convents in Venice (A.D. 1388 and A.D. 1394), Fiesole (A.D. 1406), Chioggia, Citta de Castello, Cortona, Lucca, and Fabriano, and was a correspondent of Blessed Clara Gambacorta, advising her of how to restore discipline to Dominican nuns of the day. For a time Blessed John lost papal support because of support for the Dominican White Penitents in Venice, but was later welcomed back and resumed his work in the Order.

Most importantly, Blessed John worked to provide a Christian education to young people. He opposed pagan ideas that were taking hold in the humanism of his day and was a confessor and advisor to Pope Gregory XII.

Blessed John was made Cardinal of San Sisto in A.D. 1407 and Archbishop of Ragusa in A.D. 1408. In these roles, he helped to heal the Western Schism and convinced Pope Gregory XII to call the Council of Constance, and to abdicate the papacy causing the anti-popes to also drop their claims to the papal throne.

Papal legate to Hungary and Bohemia for Pope Martin V, Blessed John worked to settle the disputes caused by the death of Jon Hus and to heal the Hussite Schism. However, while Blessed John was able to convert some, he was unable to to resolve the Hussite Schism.

Blessed John is known today for his scripture commentaries and hymns. His portrait was painted by Fra Angelico, who joined the Order under him, and a memoir of him was written by Saint Antonius of Florence, who joined the Order after hearing Blessed John preach.

Blessed John died on 10 June 1419 at Buda, India. His cultus was confirmed in A.D. 1832 and he was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI in A.D. 1837.

Prayer

O God,
the bestower of divine love,
who didst strengthen Blessed John, Thy confessor and bishop,
for the work of preserving the Unity of the Church
and establishing regular discipline;
grant, through his intercession, 
that we may all be of one mind
and do all our actions in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee
world without end.


Amen.

09 June 2010

Prayer of Self-Dedication to Christ

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. You have given all to me; to You, O Lord, now I return it; all is Yours, dispose of me wholly according to Your Will. Give me only Your love and Your grace, for this is enough for me.

Amen.

08 June 2010

Blessed Diana and Blessed Cecilia

Merciful Lord, thank you for the goodness and blessing of cloistered nuns who bear the weight of the world, in prayer for all.

8 JUNE 2010. Today we celebrate the feast day (optional memorial) of Blessed Diana Andalo and Blessed Cecilia, nuns and virgins.

Blessed Diana and Blessed Cecilia were among the very first women to follow Saint Dominic and were among the first members of the Dominican convent in Bologna. Asa they followed Saint Dominic to a life of holiness, today many Dominican and other nuns around the world follow spiritual leaders in examples of holiness, and by their witness teach us holiness.

Pray for cloistered nuns, who are continually praying for the world: pouring themselves out for the world following the model of Christ who emptied Himself for us.

06 June 2010

The Dominican Rosary

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The Dominican family follows the medieval custom of beginning the Rosary like the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary—for the Rosary is known as Mary’s prayer.

Let us pray.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Spirit,
Amen.

V.  Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
R.  Blessed art though amongst women and
     blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

V.  Lord, open my lips. +
R.  And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

V.  God come to my assistance.
R.  Lord make haste to help me.

V.  Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
R.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
(Alleluia.) (Praise be to Thee, O Lord, King of everlasting glory.)

Now begin the mysteries of the day. Start each decade by announcing the mystery and directing your imagination and attention towards that particular episode in the life of Christ or Our Lady.

It can be useful to follow the announcement of the mystery with the reading of a related scriptural passage, as indicated below. In this way, the Rosary is not merely a matter of recalling information, but of allowing God to speak to us directly through his word.

Ideally this should be followed be a period of silence, in which to reflect upon the scripture passage before moving on to vocal prayer.

Then, proceed to the recitation of the decade. On the large bead say the Our Father. On each of the ten small beads, say a Hail Mary. (Optionally, the appropriate intercessory prayer, provided below, can be added after each Hail Mary, asking for the assistance one of the Dominican members of the communion of Saints to carry our prayers to Mary, our Mother.) Then pray the Glory Be.

Each decade is a contemplation of the life of Our Lord, witnessed by Mary—one aspect of the paschal mystery. In recognition of the connection with Christian life, we should conclude our contemplation of each decade with a prayer for the fruits specific to that particular mystery. Alternatively, a more general prayer may be said according to custom, such as the following:

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, draw all souls to heaven, especially those who are in most need of your mercy.

Or:
Mary, mother of grace, mother of mercy, shield me from the enemy and receive me at the hour of my death. Amen.

Mysteries of the Rosary

Joyful 
Mondays and Saturdays
1.     The Annunciation (Lk 1, 26-38)
2.     The Visitation (Lk 1, 39-56)
3.     The Nativity (Lk 2, 1-20)
4.     The Presentation (Lk 2, 22-28)
5.     The Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Lk 2, 41-52)

Sorrowful
Tuesdays and Fridays
1.     The Agony in the Garden (Mt 26, 36-56)
2.     The Scourging at the Pillar (Is 53, 1-12 / Mk 15, 1-15)
3.     The Crowning with Thorns (Mk 15, 16-20 / Mt 27, 27-31)
4.     The Carrying of the Cross (Lk 23, 26-32 / Mk 10, 17-21)
5.     The Crucifixion (Jn 19, 17-30 / Mt 27, 35-56)

Glorious 
Wednesdays and Sundays
1.     The Resurrection (Mt 28, 1-15 / Lk 24, 1-49 / Mk 16, 1-18)
2.     The Ascension (Acts 1, 3-11)
3.     The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2, 1-21)
4.     The Assumption (Rev 12, 1)
5.     The Coronation of the Blessed Mother in Heaven (Lk 1, 46-55)

Luminous (Mysteries of Light) 
Thursdays
1.     The Baptism of Christ in the Jordan (Mt 3, 13-17 / Mk 1, 4-11)
2.     The Manifestation of Christ at the wedding of Cana (Jn 2, 1-11)
3.     The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with his call to conversion (Mt 4, 12-25 / Mk 1, 15 and 2, 3-13 / Lk 7, 47-48 / Jn 20, 22-23)
4.     The Transfiguration (Mt 17, 1-9 / Lk 9, 28-36)
5.     The Institutionalization of the Holy Eucharist (Lk 22, 14-20 / Jn 13, 1)

OPTIONAL INTERCESSORY PRAYERS
(by Jean Jeandron DeCuir)
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First Decade: We ask Saint Dominic to carry our prayers to Mary, our Mother.
1.     Father Dominic, founder of this family of spiritual brothers and sisters praying before you, pray for us.
2.     Father Dominic, beloved son of Blessed Joan of Asa and brother to Blessed Anthony, pray for us.
3.     Father Dominic, passionate son of the Virgin Mary, pray for us.
4.     Father Dominic, devoted instrument of Mary in promoting her Holy Rosary, pray for us.
5.     Father Dominic, unflinching apostle in your apostolic and mission of preaching, pray for us.
6.     Father Dominic, mediator of Mother Church in battle against the heresies of your time, pray for us.
7.     Father Dominic, unselfish defender and brother to the poor and humble, pray for us.
8.     Father Dominic, guileless instrument of God's many miracles, pray for us.
9.     Father Dominic, contemporary and spiritual brother of Saint Francis of Assisi, pray  for us.
  1. Father Dominic, incorrupt model in body and spirit, in life and death, pray for us.

Second Decade: We ask Saint Catherine of Siena to carry our prayers to Mary, our Mother.
1.     Sister Catherine, our spiritual sister in the charism of Dominic, pray for us.
2.     Sister Catherine, virgin, mystic, and visionary, pray for us.
3.     Sister Catherine, gifted daughter of Christ with whom you shared your heart, pray for us.
4.     Sister Catherine, joyful embracer of the stigmata of our Lord, pray for us.
5.     Sister Catherine, nurse to those stricken by plagues, leprosy, and cancer, pray for us.
6.     Sister Catherine, minister to condemned prisoners, pray for us.
7.     Sister Catherine, spiritual daughter of your confessor, Blessed Raymond of Capua, pray for us.
8.     Sister Catherine, peacemaker, prophet, and Doctor of the Church, pray for us.
9.     Sister Catherine, tireless supporter of the Roman papacy against it enemies in the Great Schism, pray for us.
10. Sister Catherine, faithful recorder of our Lord's intimate conversations with you in the Dialogue, pray for us.

Third Decade: We ask Saint Martin de Porres to carry our prayers to Mary, our Mother.
1.     Brother Martin, our spiritual brother in Dominic, pray for us.
2.     Brother Martin, patron saint of interracial justice, pray for us.
3.     Brother Martin, child of humble birth and giant among saints,  pray for us.
4.     Brother Martin, contemporary and friend of Saint Rose of Lima, pray for us.
5.     Brother Martin, humble instrument of God's supernatural gifts and miracles, pray for us.
6.     Brother Martin, caretaker of the poor, the orphaned, and the African slaves, pray for us.
7.     Brother Martin, lover and protector of all of God's creatures, great and small, pray for us.
8.     Brother Martin, possessor of spiritual wisdom beyond all limits, pray for us.
9.     Brother Martin, model of deep, personal penance, pray for us.
10. Brother Martin, champion of the humble, pray for us.

Fourth Decade: We ask Saint Rose of Lima to take our prayers to Mary, our Mother.
1.     Sister Rose, virgin, mystic, and visionary, pray for us.
2.     Sister Rose, humble, recluse and devoted daughter, pray for us.
3.     Sister Rose, secret sufferer of your great beauty, pray for us.
4.     Sister Rose, spiritual sister of Saint Catherine of Siena, pray for us.
5.     Sister Rose, holy instrument against the earth's fury, pray for us.
6.     Sister Rose, spiritual sister of your contemporary, Saint Martin de Porres, pray for us.
7.     Sister Rose, survivor of temptations, loneliness, and sadness, pray for us.
8.     Sister Rose, beloved daughter of God, author of countless miracles, pray for us.
9.     Sister Rose, patroness of Latin America and the Philippines, pray for us.
10. Sister Rose, first American to be canonized by Mother Church, pray for us.

Fifth Decade: We ask Saint Thomas Aquinas to take our prayers to Mary, our Mother.
1.     Brother Thomas, most scholastic son of Father Dominic, pray for us.
2.     Brother Thomas, holy priest and Doctor of the Church, pray for us.
3.     Brother Thomas, chaste servant and "Angelic Doctor," pray for us.
4.     Brother Thomas, humble master of theological and philosophical studies, pray for us.
5.     Brother Thomas, greatest theological master of Christianity, pray for us.
6.     Brother Thomas, servant of God, gifted with visions, ecstasies, and revelations, pray for us.
7.     Brother Thomas, scholar who opened our natural reasoning to discover God, pray for us.
8.     Brother Thomas, fruitful preacher of the Word, who declined all offers of priestly promotions, pray for us.
9.     Brother Thomas, author of the great Summa Theologica, pray for us.
10. Brother Thomas, patron of all universities, colleges, and schools, pray for us.

Conclusion of the Holy Rosary
Hail, holy queen, Mother of mercy,
hail our life, our sweetness, and our hope.
To thee do we cry,
poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs
mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy toward us,
and after this our exile
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving,
O sweet virgin Mary.

V.  Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us.
R.  That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.— O God, whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; grant we beseech thee, that meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain, and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord.
R.  Amen.

V.  May the divine + assistance remain always with us.
R.  Amen.

V.  May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R.  Amen.

V. May the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit descend upon us and remain with us always.
R.  Amen.

There is also a custom of ending the Rosary with prayers for the intentions of the holy Father, the whole Church, the (arch)bishop of the diocese, and the holy souls in purgatory. The following prayers are suggested:

For the Intentions of the Pope and the needs of the Church and of the nation:

Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.

For the (arch)bishop of this diocese and his intentions:

Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.

For the Holy Souls in Purgatory:

Our Father. Hail Mary. May they rest in peace.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

R.  Amen.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Spirit,
Amen.