Prayers for After Communion

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From Corpus Christi Watershed

As we near the end of the month in which we celebrated the great feast of Corpus Christi, I thought I would share two of my favorite prayers for after Holy Communion (both of which I first found in the 1962 Missal, pages 927-928).

I love to think of how, after receiving the Holy Trinity into my soul by receiving Christ in Holy Communion (for where one Person is, all Three are present), I also invite the Holy Family to be present in me by offering these prayers!

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

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O Mary, Virgin and Mother most holy, behold, I have received thy dearly beloved Son, Whom thou didst conceive in thy immaculate womb, didst bring forth and nourish and strain to thyself in sweetest embrace. Behold Him Whose every glance filled thee with joy and all delight: Him I present and offer to thee in loving humility, to be clasped in thy arms and loved in thy heart, and to be offered in supreme adoration to the most Holy Trinity, for thine own honor and glory, for my needs, and for the needs of the whole world. I beg thee, therefore, most dear Mother, obtain for me forgiveness of all my sins, the precious grace of serving thee more faithfully for the future, and that final grace of being able along with thee to praise Him through endless ages. Amen.

Prayer to St. Joseph

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Saint Joseph, Guardian of virgins and father, to whose faithful care Christ Jesus, innocence itself, and Mary, Virgin of virgins, were entrusted, I ask and beg of thee, through these two dearest pledges, Jesus and Mary, preserve me from all defilement, and make it always possible for me unsullied in mind, pure in heart, and chaste in body to give to Jesus and Mary my holiest service. Amen.

God bless! Happy Monday 🙂

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“To enter the state of life God intends for you . . .”

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(Though I didn’t intend this at all while writing it, this post has pretty much become the continuation of my Woman at Home series . . . I apologize for its lack of strict continuity with the previous two, but am linking it up with the rest anyway 😉 )

When I was a teenager, and when it came to considering the state of life to which God was calling me, I had strong, gripping hopes and dreams (of which I wrote about here and here some) for what I wanted to do–but an even stronger, more gripping fear of letting my soul be silent. A fear of simply listening.

I loved God and the Faith, and was trying to grow in holiness . . . but I was, nevertheless, terrified of letting my soul be calm, still and trusting enough to the point where I could let go of my desires and wait hear His voice telling me His designs for me. Because . . . that might have required me giving up everything I wanted. And that felt physically impossible for me at the time.

If I ever sensed that type of beckoning silence descending on me, whether it be in Adoration, at Mass, or in bed, wherever–I would essentially panic and chase it away. I was so immersed in this, truthfully, fear of God’s will that now I can only imagine how worn and unhappy I must have been sometimes, without even realizing it.

I desire you to be a consecrated virgin. I ask you to be a nun for My sake. Fantasies of hearing those phrases ring out clearly in my soul were paralyzing to me. I would immediately begin convincing myself; “I’ve always wanted to be a good wife and mom. That means God gave me the desire from the beginning–that means it’s my vocation.” I pretty much had my spiritual hands clapped over my spiritual ears.

So yes. Simply because I was born and raised in a faithful Catholic homeschooling family who frequented the Sacraments and wanted to be holy, didn’t mean my soul wasn’t in need of a truly profound conversion, of the continual kind.

I was almost twenty when my father made the decision that our family was going to begin attending the Traditional Latin Mass each Sunday, at a different parish forty minutes from home. He cared for how we felt about transitioning, and initiated many evening discussions about the change, but also sensed strongly that we needed to be there, and as the head of our family, he was determined to get us there.

Thank God he listened to that divine urge.

Though we would miss our former parish family, none of us were exactly opposed to the idea, even if some of us found acclimating to such a drastically different liturgy challenging at first. We began to go, and we kept going. We realized very quickly that, as a family, there was no going back. There was nothing like this anywhere. We couldn’t be anywhere but there.

It’s impossible for me to write a cohesive narrative about what all the Latin Mass has done to my soul and to my spiritual life. It’s so much larger than me, and in many ways beyond my basic comprehension. But I know, without any lurking doubt, that God knew I, personally and individually, was in sore need of the Latin Mass and the conversion it would help bring about in my soul, as a Catholic, a woman, a person.

Leaving out some details for the sake of simplicity, I can chart a basic path as to why and how it changed me, specifically in my problem of surrendering my future wholly to God’s will.

It took away my fear of interior silence. This is something, I think, I’ve overlooked until recently–but now I realize the staggering importance of it and how tremendously it helped me in my conversion. Any newcomer to the Latin Mass is struck and often disoriented (I was no exception!) by the silence of it. Apart from the entire Mass being celebrated ad orientem (facing east), where everything is directed away from oneself and towards God in adoration and sacrifice, the Canon–including the Consecration–is offered inaudibly by the priest, as it was for fifteen hundred years. At a Low Mass, hymns are optional and (in the case of our parish) usually omitted except for special feasts, so that definitely creates an atmosphere of profound quiet . . . but this interior silence isn’t concocted by a mere lack of hymns, because it also pervades High Mass where much of the Mass is chanted by the choir or by the priest, where plainchant and polyphony abound in an effort to lift the soul out of the world, in adoration of God.

I think that simply because the Latin Mass is so visibly directed towards God, and because its liturgy is filled with such ancient reverence, quiet, order, and beauty, it immediately stilled my soul. There, my soul had to be still and know that God is God. I had to look at Him. I can’t think of any other way to describe it!

It didn’t happen all at once. Rather, I believe it occurred drip by drip, grace by grace, Mass by Mass, before I halfway knew it. Our Lord eroded my stony wall, my terror of interior silence, of a steady gaze into His eyes, of vulnerably opening my hands to Him. He eroded my fears gently through the wondrous and ancient liturgy. He taught me how to be silent in His presence, and how not to be afraid of it–of Him.

The Latin Mass also increased my desire to learn, and my hunger for Truth. Maybe it was as simple as the ancient-ness of the liturgy working on me, or the fact that this liturgy was the one that the vast majority of canonized saints were enveloped in at every Mass . . . but I found myself wanting to read (devour might be a better word) works written by saints, priests, and holy thinkers who lived when Latin Mass was all there was, simply so that I could learn more about this liturgy and immerse myself more in it. This was how I fell in love with my now frequently quoted “adopted” spiritual father, Fr. Lasance, and many others.

And the Latin Mass also filled me with a real hunger to absorb and contemplate as much of the truths of the Faith as I possibly could. Again, it’s difficult to describe well. But this hunger inevitably lead to me reading traditional books about the Faith, several of which that spoke of authentic vocational discernment . . . and of simply desiring God’s will, of desiring sainthood. (I’ll quote the best extract I’ve ever found on vocational discernment at the end of this post.)

And in fact, here I can pin down the precise moment where I first realized I had been fundamentally changed by God’s grace from the person I used to be . . . when I realized that my old fears of hearing Our Lord’s voice were completely gone.

Earlier this year, I was sitting at the kitchen table, reading Chapter 11 of Fr. Pietro Leone’s The Family Under Attack. I had my highlighter in hand (almost every passage in my copy is highlighted . . . *embarrassed cough*). I was bent over the words intently, absorbing, absorbing . . .

And he embarked on a description of perfect chastity in the religious life.

“The love of one who is perfectly chaste is directed towards Christ. The Fathers of the Church considered perfect chastity as a form of spiritual marriage to Christ and as an exclusive love of Christ. As the consecration of virgins puts it: ‘The Kingdom of this earth and all worldly trappings I have valued as worthless for love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, whom I have seen, loved, believed, and preferred above all else.’ Yet there is more to perfect chastity than the bonds of affection, as Piux XII goes on to declare, for this ‘burning love for Christ’ impels the virgin to the imitation of Christ’s virtues, way of life, and self-sacrifice. In this way virgins ‘follow the Lamb wherever he goes.’ (Apoc. 14:4)

I finished reading these words. I paused (probably biting my highlighter, as I’m wont to do). I sank back into my chair, and thought–without even realizing what I was doing–, “The consecrated life is utterly, sublimely beautiful. It is True, and it is the most perfect symbol of the life to come in Heaven. If I were called to it, I would go without hesitation.”

And then I realized what I had thought . . . and I marveled at how completely unafraid my soul was. At how still it was.

It was still at the knowledge that, if God were to show me that He’d given me the vocation of perfect consecrated chastity, I would surrender my hopes and natural inclinations to the married state and go joyfully–because His will was good, and was (and is) all I should ever desire.

I had never experienced such a moment until then.

And, praise God, half a year later, He is still helping me to rest and be content in that silence of the heart.

So now I can say that, as an almost twenty-one-year-old young woman at home, I’m in finally a place of true vocational discernment. Really, a place of listening. Of being able to tell my Lord each day, “Thy will be done. Do what Thou wantest with me,” and to mean it. For the first time in my life, I feel as though I see my many faults and vices more clearly than ever, and yet truly desire to be a saint, for God’s sake, in a way I’ve never done before. I’m often silly, daily commit sins and make countless mistakes–but I want to be holy, to do God’s will, for God’s sake. My dreams and hopes for the future are no longer my property–I still have them, and yet I don’t “have” them. I realize that this is a tremendous, undeserved grace, and I pray I will never take it for granted.

The humorous thing is, if I were writing my own story, now would be the time when I reveal to the reader that I’ve discovered God has been calling me to the religious life all along . . . that He has guided me out of my childhood/teenage dreams for marriage and motherhood and made me realize that surrendering my will to His means I’m to become a consecrated religious.

I consider nothing certain apart from my desire to do His will, and am completely open to, and listening for, the call to the religious life. Still, I daily find myself–through prayer and study–becoming more sure, in that quiet and calm way that speaks of God’s presence, that it’s quite possible He does desire me to be a wife and mother. My long-held desires for that vocation still, truthfully, remain, but in a way they’ve been completely transformed. Through God’s grace, and again through no merits of my own, I only want to be married if God sees that it will best help me (and my future husband) to become a saint. I only want to be a mother if God has ordained that I am capable, with His and my husband’s help, of raising saints.

At this point, I feel as though He is equipping me for the vocation of wifehood and motherhood, and that He is asking me to be patient, trusting, and entirely open to His voice. If He ever shows me that He desires me elsewhere, I’m ready.

Because . . . it’s basically all about sainthood here, folks 🙂

So . . . in closing (finally, I know) I wanted to share a passage from Fr. Lasance’s writings that I was reading just this afternoon. I found myself wanting freshness and clarity of spirit in my discernment–and I didn’t need to look any further than these paragraphs.

If you are discerning your vocation, if you are seeking God’s will for your life, then I highly encourage you to read this, reflect on it often, and trust Our Lord completely!

God bless you!

Fr. Lasance on Discerning Your Vocation

“In the first place, direct your heart constantly toward heaven. Have but one desire, namely, to know and to do the will of God; God will then bestow His grace upon you, and you will be certain to make a wise choice. No one must count upon an extraordinary call, such as the apostles and many great saints received. Those were very special gifts of grace, which you cannot expect. But if you keep your eye and heart constantly directed toward God, He will enlighten you with His grace, will give you prudent counselors, and so ordain external circumstances that you may, if I can thus express it, be led by the hand of your guardian angel to enter the state of life God intends for you.

Truly the ways of God are wonderful and manifold. Sometimes He impresses on the heart of a young child a desire for a particular state. Consequently, later on in life there can arise no question as to making a choice, the question having already been decided. To others He signifies His will only when a choice has to be made; and these often enter with joy of spirit into a state for which they had long experienced a rooted aversion.

In the second place, keep your soul pure. A very great deal–everything, indeed–depends upon this. The brighter and more transparent is the glass of a window, the more readily do the rays of the sun penetrate into the room; but the dimmer the glass, the darker will the apartment be. The soul may be compared to glass, to a mirror, in which they are reflected. If you desire to be enlightened from on high in your choice of a state of life, keep your heart clean, preserve therein the bright light of innocence. If this light is obscured or extinguished by sin, delay not to rekindle it by means of contrition and confession.

In the third place, be diligent in prayer. From what has already been said you must plainly perceive that prayer is of the utmost importance in choosing a state of life. For, on the one hand, you seek to choose the state of life which will best promote your eternal salvation; on the other, the world, the flesh, and the devil strive to decoy you into taking the wrong road.

There are two epochs in the life of every individual when the devil lays snares for him with particular cunning. The first is when he ceases to be a child; then comes the crisis, the critical period when the result of previous training will show in the innocence and purity of the youth or maiden, or the reverse to be unhappily the case. I believe this critical period has already passed with you; I confidently hope you have successfully withstood the test and preserved your innocence.

But with yet greater cunning and force will the devil attack you either now or a few years hence when you come to choose a state of life. Should he succeed in inducing you to take the wrong road, he will expect to emerge victorious from your final, death-bed struggle. Therefore, my dear child, pray, pray! Pray for light, that the mists may disperse and the road of life stretch clearly before you; pray for strength to resist your passions whatever sacrifices it may cost you; pray simply that you may know and do the will of God.

In the fourth place, receive frequently and worthily the Sacraments of Penance and of the Altar. These Sacraments will maintain the purity of your soul, and the Giver of grace will descend into your heart with His light and strength. After each communion entreat Our Lord, with earnestness and confidence, to teach you what are the designs of His Sacred Heart in regard to you, and to strengthen you to make any sacrifice that may be necessary. And on your communion days give some time to serious reflection. Imagine that you are stretched upon your death-bed. Ask yourself if you were in that awful hour what state of life you would wish you had chosen. Would it not be a cause of bitter regret if you had acted in accordance with your own self-will . . .?

I cannot refrain from mentioning one more means for arriving at a right decision, namely, a true, filial, confiding love and devotion to Mary. On the present occasion I will only make two brief remarks in regard to this devotion. If you desire wisdom and enlightenment concerning the choice of a state of life,  the surest way to obtain it is through Mary, for she is “Sedes sapientiae,” the “Seat of wisdom.” And if you wish to attain eternal salvation, the surest way to realize this is through Mary, for, as a great saint tells us, “a true servant of Mary can never be lost.”

Do not imagine that thoughts like these are suited only for a young woman who is about to enter the cloister. These reflections are not intended for this one or that one, but for all who desire to choose aright so as to ensure their eternal salvation.

As you ought to beware of rashness in choosing a state of life, so ought you to guard against over-anxiety. Do not lose heart in presence of the momentous decision. Make use of the means I have pointed out to you; look constantly toward Heaven. Keep your soul pure; be diligent in prayer; frequently approach the sacraments; practise devotion to Mary; regard her as your Mother; and look with cheerful confidence into the future. Eternal peace and joy follow the earthly struggle. The way of the cross leads to the crown of immortal joy.

Father Francis Xavier Lasance (d. 1946) Requiescat in pace.

Unto the Altar of God

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I mentioned in an earlier post how the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has made the commitment to stream live daily Latin Mass from several different locations around the world, and how grateful my family is for this apostolate. But as this live daily Mass has become such an integral part of my personal daily life, I thought it would be appropriate to write about it in more detail.

My soul has come to rely, in a very real way, on being able to “pray holy Mass” each morning. Indeed, in the words of Pope St. Pius X, it hungers that I “associate my heart with the holy feelings . . . to follow all that happens at the altar.” Where I live, we are tremendously blessed with the Traditional Latin Mass every Sunday. But if there were ever a church or chapel near me that offered it daily . . . oh, I would most certainly be there!

But since, for the present, there isn’t one nearby, I have recourse to literally kneeling in front of my computer, along with my siblings, and praying the Mass via live stream each morning at 8am 😉

But . . . why do it?

Of course, prayer is necessary for the soul, and Mass is the highest prayer of all. But as I’m not physically present at these Masses, is there any benefit that comes from my kneeling and praying along when the priest’s voice is merely emerging through computer speakers and the High Altar is constructed of pixels . . . and is there any good reason for my need for doing it?

On my sidebar, I link to an excellent article introducing the reader to the Latin Mass. The following section is my favorite:

The human soul needs mystery to thrive. Deep down, sometimes very deep down, we crave an experience that is disorienting in its wonder, something so marvelous we forget ourselves in the face of it. We want something that is at once knowable and unknowable, within our grasp and beyond our reach.

Good and true liturgy is like that. It draws us upward and out of ourselves. It is disorienting and uncomfortable in a healthy and joyful way. Holiness, if it is real, should feel disorienting. So give yourself permission to not know and understand everything that is going on in the Mass. Some priestly gestures and prayers are meant to be beyond your reach, and you aren’t meant to grasp their every meaning. That is just how it is. Embrace it. Let the mystery wash over you and transform you.

The mysterious aspect of the old Roman Rite is indeed marvelous, brimming with quiet splendor and wonder. High Mass is full of audible beauty: ethereal Gregorian chant, tapestries of polyphony, all offered anonymously from the choir loft. Low Mass is full of whispers and sacred silence. The first thing impressed upon me when I attended Latin Mass, a year ago on Trinity Sunday 2016, was that nothing was about me. Everything was about God; everything was directed towards Him, and all things came from Him. For me, there is no time in the Latin Mass. It could last two, even three hours and I would hardly notice, or feel the niggle to check a watch. Despite my human weaknesses, my sometimes growling stomach or frequently wandering mind–it’s rapturous.

Of course, that everything is about God is true of every valid Mass by definition, but something about the old liturgy that has been celebrated for over fifteen hundred years seems to impress this sweet and majestic truth very deeply on my human heart.

From the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar:

Ant. Introibo ad altare Dei. (I will go in unto the altar of God.)

R. Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam. (To God Who giveth joy to my youth.)

to the reverent, exultant proclamation of the Last Gospel:

In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum.

(In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.)

. . . I find myself truly in awe, and in Love.

That may be the best explanation I can give as to why I am drawn to the Mass daily, to the point where streaming the Mass from several hundred miles away is a delight.

Even though I can’t be present in the congregation or receive the Eucharist physically, I do believe there’s real worth in uniting myself spiritually to the sacrifice of the Mass by praying along with it through a live-streamed Mass every morning. I’ve outlined a few reasons (mostly for myself to ponder 🙂 ) as to why:

  • Praying the Mass reminds me of eternity. And I think this is one of the most important reasons of all. My time here on earth is so short; if God has willed that I live around eighty years, well, I’ve already lived a quarter of that time. Roughly 25% (or possibly more) of my life on earth is gone and irretrievable. To live in a bubble of denial, to resist the thought of death and eternity and the four last things, is a snare of the Devil and a malady of today’s culture. Praying the Mass is a powerful antidote to that. I don’t want a day to pass in which I don’t think of Heaven, eternity, and my own death, and to pray for the grace of a holy death. I don’t want a day to pass in which I’m not reminded that I am a stranger and sojourner here, that I am a struggling traveler through a vale of tears, and that the fullness of all things lies ahead of me, not around me. The Mass does this better than anything else on earth; the vivid, ancient prayers of the Latin liturgy, especially, speak almost constantly of eternity and of salvation, of sin and contrition, and of perfect hope. The Mass transcends time; it stands at Calvary; it adores the Eternal God; it reminds me that time is a quickly passing creation, one day to be gone forever. It urges me to live life well, for my death will come and bring me to the shore of eternity before I know it.

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  • Praying the Mass fortifies my faith. To immerse myself every morning in the deepest mysteries of the Faith, in the beauty of the liturgy, in the prayers of the Mass and the reality of the Eucharist–it steadies and anchors my faith, as well as my desire for truth. The Mass, even if it’s only streamed, supports my soul as its strongest and surest anchor.

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  • Praying the Mass offers me an opportunity for a more fervent Spiritual Communion. A Spiritual Communion can be made any time of the day, many times a day–but to have already prayed along with the whole Mass does significantly affect my disposition and my desire to receive our Lord in whatever form He can come to me.

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  • Praying the Mass offers me the best way to keep my soul rooted in the liturgical year. To celebrate each feast, each commemoration, each Ember or Rogation Day, each saint, by praying the Holy Mass and reading the specific propers for the day, helps me to remain rooted in the garden of virtue that is the liturgical year. It helps me to learn more about the Faith, more about the saints, and inspires me to imitate them.

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  • Praying the Mass unites me to the intentions of the Church, and to those of the Heart of Christ and His Mother. By praying the Mass, I am moved to desire and pray for God’s will to be done in all things; to unite my heart to the highest and purest intentions, namely the salvation of all souls and the glory of God; and to submit all my personal desires and hopes to God’s omnipotence, omniscience and providence.

I’m sure there are many more reasons I’ve yet to unearth from my feeble brain, but I think these will suffice for now. Particularly, if this has inspired you to check out the FSSP’s apostolate of LiveMass, I highly encourage you to do so, and to support these sons of the Church in their holy work!

Hear Mass daily; it will prosper the whole day. All your duties will be performed the better for it, and your soul will be stronger to bear its daily cross. The Mass is the most holy act of religion; you can do nothing that can give greater glory to God or be more profitable for your soul than to hear Mass both frequently and devoutly. It is the favorite devotion of the saints.

-St. Peter Julian Eymard

Our Miniature Prayer Altar (Update)

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Back in February, I wrote a post about how my sister and I had made a miniature prayer altar to St. Joseph in our bedroom, in connection with our devotion to the most virtuous foster-father of Christ, and in praying to him for the spiritual protection of our future husbands.

Well . . . now it’s mid-June (that’s hard to believe!). And as our devotions have grown over the past four months, so has our little prayer altar, to say the least! I’ve been wanting to take more pictures and share what’s going on up on our shelf for a while now 🙂

Having a little prayer altar/prayer shelf in our room has proved to be such a lovely thing. It immediately reminds me of higher things; it directs my heart toward prayer; and it reminds me of the presence and intercession of my favorite saints, and the consolation of my favorite devotions. It’s not the only place where we keep sacramentals in our bedroom, but it’s definitely become the center of things!

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So here’s a basic side view, near my bed. (Alas, the lighting in our room, in terms of photography, is just awful!)

From here, in order of left to right, you can see . . . A) A holy card of the Holy Family [balanced against an empty votive candle globe] B) A statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel C) A statue of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, with holy cards on either side D) A statue of St. Joseph E) A holy card of St. Raphael, propped against our special white veil F) A statue of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Let’s take a closer look!

The Holy Family

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This beautiful holy card (from Portraits of Saints . . . where else?) is our most recent acquisition. While we have statues of all three members of the Holy Family on our altar already, it just feels appropriate to have an image of them gathered together. And this is one of the most adorable and heartmelting portrayals of the child Jesus that I’ve ever seen, by the way!

Each night, at the end of our few night prayers, my sister and I pray the traditional ejaculation:

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give thee my heart and my soul!

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, assist me in my last agony!

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with thee!

And as the holy card seems to fit this prayer perfectly, it will remain a permanent fixture on our altar 🙂

Moving on . . .

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

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Apart from both being enrolled in the Brown Scapular and reciting its attached Morning Offering each morning, we don’t have any private devotions to Our Lady of Mount Carmel specifically, but we included this statue because it’s the most intact statue of our Blessed Mother that we currently have. Besides, she definitely needed to be a part of our prayer altar, due to our devotion to her through Total Consecration, and to the Holy Rosary and her Seven Sorrows 🙂

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Prayer Cards

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Yes . . . we know His halo is missing one piece. We actually have found the piece and are going to get our Dad or brother to superglue it in the near future . . . the missing piece of His left hand, however, we don’t have . . .

Our home has been enthroned to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus for nearly a year now, and so devotion to the Sacred Heart is of special importance to our family. And again . . . this is the only statue of Our Lord my sister and I have that’s (relatively) intact, and like the Blessed Virgin, we reached the point where we wanted Him visibly on our prayer altar, so up it went!

And as for the prayer cards, we actually change them every day of the week! Since today is Wednesday, they’re both of St. Joseph, because Wednesday is traditionally devoted to St. Joseph. Yesterday, we had a holy card of St. Anthony of Padua (for obvious reasons), and also one of a Guardian Angel, since Tuesday is traditionally devoted to the Holy Angels. Here’s a full list, in case you’re interested:

Sunday: To the Holy Trinity Monday: To the Holy Ghost, and to the Holy Souls in Purgatory Tuesday: To the Holy Angels Wednesday: To St. Joseph Thursday: To the Most Blessed Sacrament Friday: To the Passion of Our Lord, and to His Sacred Heart Saturday: To the Blessed Virgin Mary.

When we began perusing With God, we had the idea to make a little space on our prayer altar to reflect the changing devotions for each day. So far, it’s been lovely and easy to do!

St. Joseph

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And of course, St. Joseph–the entire reason we began our prayer altar to begin with! We pray to him daily for the spiritual protection of our future husbands, and also for the spiritual protection of all the men (friends and family members) God has placed in our lives. And I’m also often inspired to pray for his intercession that I would just grow in virtue and one day make a holy and chaste wife . . .

We usually pray the ancient prayer to St. Joseph:

O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, do assist me by thy powerful intercession, and obtain for me from thy Divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, so that having obtained here below thy heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers. O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee with Jesus asleep in thy arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name, kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for us!

St. Raphael

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If I could name one thing out of 2017 that I’m most grateful for so far . . . it would have to be discovering devotion to St. Raphael through a good friend. Oh my.

My sister and I’s prayer altar originated out of our great desire to be brought into our future husbands’ lives in accordance with God’s will and timing. And while some of our Church’s most beautiful saints, like St. Joseph, have heard many of our prayers for our future spouses, and will continue to do so–I think Our Lord desired to draw us into devotion to the Heavenly Archangel who escorted one holy man and one holy woman, under very unlikely circumstances, into one anothers’ lives.

This would be St. Raphael.

In the Book of Tobias, St. Raphael appeared in the form of “a beautiful young man” to Tobias’ only son, Tobiah, and (apart from doing several other extraordinary things) orchestrated a holy marriage between Tobiah and Sarah, exhorting them to enter into a chaste and God-fearing union with hearts desirous of children and of virtue. Tobiah and Sarah are the prime example of holy marriage in traditional Catholicism; the Introit for the Nuptial Mass comes from the book of Tobias.

So, after discovering all this (I so highly recommend this book), good St. Raphael has become the foremost intercessor my sister and I now turn to when praying that our future husbands would actually be guided to us, like Tobiah was to Sarah. We desire holy marriage one day, and St. Raphael has become a true consolation to us.

So yes . . . there are two prayers we pray daily to him, and behind his holy card (also from Portraits of Saints) sits our beautiful veil. My sister is planning on getting one of her own soon, to where we no longer have girlish logistical fears about “what if we both are going to need to wear it at the same time?” etc. 🙂  Our “updated” plan is to wear our special white veils, as sacramentals (we hope to have them blessed), during courtship and betrothal as a sign of our reliance on St. Raphael (and St. Joseph) during that time of discernment, and to have with us in some form on our wedding day, in their honor . . .

That was probably more than you ever wanted to know about that. Sorry 🙂

Our Lady of Lourdes

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And finally, Our Lady of Lourdes! She is my patronal saint, and this statue was a gift to my sister from her spiritual director from when he visited Lourdes recently. This statue is our second-most-recent acquisition for our prayer altar, and we invoke her each night before we go to bed 🙂

So that’s our prayer altar! I hope you enjoyed the look at it and weren’t too overwhelmed by manifold details. Whether simple or elaborate, whether it represents several devotions or just one, a prayer altar is beautiful, special and personal and can be an avenue of grace for any soul trying to grow in love of God and His saints.

God bless!

Three Traditional Prayers for the Feast of St. Anthony

The saints are very powerful on their feast days.

This morning we were all streaming live daily Latin Mass through the FSSP (we’re so grateful for this apostolate!), and the wonderful priest offering it in Florida gave a short homily on St. Anthony. He encouraged us all to take advantage of St. Anthony’s feast day (and of all saints’ feasts!) as a time of fervent prayer to him for the graces and favors we need, since God has ordained, in His mercy, that the saints should be more powerful to aid us children of Eve on their feast days.

I know . . . this fact seems a like a no-brainer, but I guess I’d never heard it put quite that way before and I found it exciting and edifying (to put it mildly). So once the Mass had reached Communion, I rushed over to our great bulky copy of With God and flurried through the index for prayers to St. Anthony. Of course, I was not to be disappointed. Beautiful, old and indulgenced prayers to him were right under my fingertips . . . so now the irrepressible Mary is here to share them with you 🙂

St. Anthony is one of the most beloved and, indeed, efficacious saints of all the Church . . . and we all have great spiritual, and sometimes great temporal, needs. Let’s pray together to him in our homes today!

From the 1962 Missal:

One of the greatest Franciscan Saints, St. Anthony was a profound theologian, a brilliant preacher, a formidable foe to heresy, and a terror to heretics, through the supernatural forces which seemed always at his command. He was born in Lisbon, but labored chiefly in Italy, where he died in 1231.

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Prayer to St. Anthony of Padua

To thee we have recourse, most powerful worker of miracles, in whose breast burned a sublime fire of charity towards God and the poor. To thee, who wast deemed worthy to hold in thy arms the infant Jesus, who chose to be born poor, to thee, full of confidence, we betake ourselves, that thou mayest pray the good Jesus to have compassion on us in our great tribulations. Oh! obtain for us the favor which we humbly implore (here state the favor needed). If thou dost obtain it for us, O glorious St. Anthony, we will offer thee bread for the poor whom thou didst love so greatly on earth. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be. (An indulgence of 100 days, once a day.)

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Indulgenced Responsory in Honor of St. Anthony

If, then, you ask for miracles,
Death, error, all calamities,
The leprosy, and demons fly,
And health succeeds infirmities.

The sea obeys, and fetters break;
And lifeless limbs thou dost restore;
Whilst treasures lost are found again,
When young or old thine aid implore.

All dangers vanish at thy prayer,
And direst need doth quickly flee;
Let those who know, thy power proclaim,
Let Paduans say: These are of thee.

The sea obeys, and fetters break;
and lifeless limbs thou dost restore;
Whilst treasures lost are found again,
When young or old thine aid implore.

To Father, Son, may glory be,
And Holy Ghost eternally.

The sea obeys, and fetters break;
and lifeless limbs thou dost restore;
Whilst treasures lost are found again,
When young or old thine aid implore.

V. Pray for us, blessed Anthony.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: O God! may the votive commemoration 
of the blessed Anthony, Thy confessor, be a source of joy 
to Thy Church, that she may always be fortified 
with spiritual assistance, and deserve to enjoy eternal rewards.
 Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

(100 days, once a day; Plenary indulgence, once a month, 
on any day, to all those who have said it for a month,
provided that, being truly penitent, after confession 
and communion, they shall visit a church or public oratory,
 and there pray, for sometime, for the intention of His Holiness.)

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Aspirations to St. Anthony of Padua to Obtain Various Graces

  • St. Anthony, we beseech thee, obtain for us the grace that we desire.
  • St. Anthony, great wonder-worker, intercede for us that God may grant us our request, if it be for the good of our soul.
  • St. Anthony, be our patron, our protector, and our advocate in life and in death.
  • St. Anthony, attentive to those who invoke thee, grant us the aid of thy powerful intercession for the grace of holy purity, meekness, humility, obedience, the spirit of poverty, and perfect abandonment to the will of God.
  • St. Anthony, glory of the Church and hammer of heretics, pray for our Holy Father, our bishops, our priests, our Religious Orders, that, through their pious zeal and apostolic labors, infidels, heretics, and all those outside the true Church of Christ may be converted and, united in faith, give greater glory to God.
  • St. Anthony, servant of Mary, obtain for us greater devotion to the blessed Mother of God.
  • St. Anthony, obtain for us the grace of perseverance, the grace of a happy death.