Categories
Faith Formation Ink Slingers Prayer Sacramentals Susan

How to Build Your Family on a Rock (and Why!)

Communicate together, Heal together

Recently our family has had to deal with injustice and dishonesty toward our family. It was painful, particularly because the other party does not see any wrong done by them and made it clear we are never to interact with them ever again. We tried to express gratitude for the wonderful opportunities they made possible for us, but the words were not appreciated. Our family has had to walk away from a good thing that went sour. We have talked and discussed all the details within the confine of our home to help each other get past the pain and move onto forgiveness. It was our youth that reminded us that new opportunities will come along, and that is exciting.

When we allowed the topic to come up, further healing came. We listened to each other, corrected each other, and praised the efforts of one another. We acknowledged the difficulties and injustice, but also marveled at how could Christ take all the hatred He was given, the pain? How could he forgive so deeply in the moment of the injustice!? He did it for us to learn from. Sharing the pains together as a family has made us stronger as a family, and gave us firmer footing.

 

Pray together for those who hurt you

Christ was not joking when he said, “Pray for your enemies, do good to those who hurt you, pray for those who persecute you.” Every day each of us encounters personal hurt. We can be truly hurt by the words of others. And frustration only grows when we cannot patch the issue with more words. There comes a time, rather early on in injustices, that we must pray for those who pained us. We must take Jesus’s words to heart and action; not alone either, but as a family and with Christian friends.

I learned more personally this lesson within the family at daily prayer. Our daughter had encountered a person whose personality clashed with hers. Instead of avoidance and being mad, she asked friends to pray for the other girl, and mentioned the girl in our family night prayers. Within a month, they were getting along so very well and enjoying each others presence. A trust had formed not only between them, but between my husband and I with the girl. Only gratitude for the learning experience and for the girl lingers. And that is Good!

 

Order Life Around God

I was warned by a relative, whom I look up to as wise, that we had our priorities out of line. He expressed concern and I told him I would think more about it. As the summer progressed I began understanding what he saw that I had not. We were putting our kids’ activities before the first duties to God and family necessities. We were spending money where it was not prudent at this time in our lives. Thankfully, God took direct care of ending those activities by means outside our control, but not without pain, and not without much blessing. But why could I not have been more prudent to begin with? Why do we parents invest so much time and energy into activities that may not be what our kids REALLY need to be doing? It seems like a disease at times!

In our recent situation, the activity was ended by a chain of unfortunate events and we were left with “free time.” I looked out the window one of these days and saw my daughter working on a hobby she has not done in over a year. I said to my husband, “That’s what she should be doing. Exploring her own interests naturally.” What God actually did for our family was cleared out the source of sorrows, stresses, and drama so we could experience freedom to follow Him wherever he leads. As a family we are seeing the blessings of NOT being scheduled around unnecessary activities. We share with you the importance of scheduling our family lives around Sunday mass, monthly confession, daily family Rosary, and a daily sit-down family meal.  These are the daily routines that keep families on the Rock.

 

Model especially when it is difficult

In the home parents must witness to the family the higher call Christ demands. In the world, each member of the family must model His high ideal, especially in difficult situations. In injustice, we must be just. In suffering, we must strive to be patient and kind. In confrontation, we must behave to gain a clear mind and keep returning to words of forgiveness and gratitude, or if need be end the conversation with grace and walk away.

On a morning my own deep knowledge of injustices done to my family became very raw with sorrow. My dear friend saw me and with compassion listened, then advised me: “We are called to be the ones in the world who model Christ’s higher call, so in every situation, God’s grace can usher into people’s lives.” The words were absolutely true and gave me new insight on the Christian call to holiness. At a later time, with serious words we clarified with our youth that anger needs to stop somewhere. Even the smallest gossip proves we still are angry…it musts stop with us so forgiveness and love may take its place.

As Christians we are expected to stop vice in its tracks so it cannot go any further. As for our family, we choose to stop it here! But we need each other to be strong to live virtue rather than vice. It cannot be done without communication, prayer, and living our lives around God.

 

Choose your King

So often we do devotions as individuals. The family has the gift to develop devotions in community with one another. Praying the Rosary, reading the Bible, going to Mass and confession, going to Adoration; all of these are main forms of devotion. But what can the family do that takes it a step further? They can have a Home Enthronement.

A decade ago I use to organize Home Enthronements for families in our town through word of mouth. I had to give it up for many years now for health and family reasons. However, a series of events occurred since August that made it clear I should return to this apostolate and offer my services to families again.  I am amazed at the smooth progress being made in getting started again. But what is it? And why do it for your family? Then How?

Home Enthronement is when a family asks Our Lady to come into their home and prepare them to enthrone Christ as King of their family. In the fewer terms: The family asks to be built on the Rock, and to be sheltered from the storms of life by Christ, their King. They make their home a domestic Church, a “tabernacle” for the neighborhood. In the ceremony, done in the home with a priest, the family consecrates itself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary; images of the Two Hearts are blessed and hung in the center of the home; the whole house is blessed; and Brown Scapulars are given and anyone needing enrolled could be at that time. It is beautiful! The requirements of the family then is to pray daily together, renewing often the consecration prayer together; attend Sunday Mass.  Many families wear the scapular, and maybe hang one in the home or on their door. In our town, we give Benedictine medals as a gift to the families to hang above their exit doors. The family home is literally transformed and strengthened.

If you are interested in having your family and home enthroned to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, go to www.wafusa.org , then go to Shop, then to Home Enthronements. Buy your family the Home Enthronement Kit. It will have everything you need in it, except the Images of the Two Hearts. Read the booklet and ask your parish priest to come do the ceremony with you all. If you have any questions or if you want to know how to offer this in your parish, where to get images to print, etc. you may contact me through my blog at www.theeighthstation.blogspot.com .

 

Be a Light in Darkness

None of us have to look far to see the world is very dark. People are confused in morality and religion. We do not have to look far to learn – Catholic Christians need to grow brighter! What better why then with Christ’s Light permeating from our homes and from the foundation of our lives being built on the Rock!? Vice and evil need to stop somewhere. Stop it before it leaves our families, so it stops spreading into the world. Build your family on Rock which is Christ and His Church!

 

Categories
Ink Slingers Kasey Sacramentals Saints Spiritual Growth

My Island of Lost Things

I’m not quite sure when I officially began calling my eccentric Catholic behavior a “ministry of lost things.”

I’m not even completely sure if calling it a ministry is completely stepping over some sort of invisible line in the sand.

However, I can pinpoint when it all began.

My family had just moved. We had traded our tiny apartment, in a fancy neighborhood, for a flat just a couple miles west. The new abode came with a backyard, a dishwasher, and in unit laundry. All this might seem mundane to the non-urbanite but for those of us who hail from the concrete jungles of the world- it is well established that moving a couple miles can often feel like moving to a different planet.

I was very happy that my new planet was laundromat free.

However, what I didn’t foresee was how much I was going to miss the little town center in which I took many of my evening walks. It had little boutique shops. There was a bakery with just the most delicate little pastries glistening in the cold case. There was an independent bookstore that served wine and hosted book clubs.

In the middle of a bustling city, it was quaint.

And I liked that.

My new place is certainly an upgrade in many ways (holy dishwasher Batman!) but it is primarily flanked with convenience stores and gas stations.

It wasn’t long until I found myself a little un-enchanted with my evening walks. What was my destination now? Where was I going to go for inspiration and the post-parenting refill I had so desperately come to depend on?

That’s when I found my janky thrift store.

It didn’t smell as good as the bakery- like, at all.

It wasn’t artfully put together like all of the boutiques I aimlessly wandered around even though I was newly married and completely broke.

It wasn’t as hipster chic as the bookstore that crammed people into the little cafe area for book discussions and angry poetry.

But it is quiet and quirky.

And I could walk to it and pick up funny items like lost artifacts, turning them over in my hands while wondering why someone would have gotten rid of a hand painted mug of their own face.

It has become my little island of lost things.

My first real “find” happened several weeks into my weekly adventure. It was hidden behind a box that contained an automatic salt and pepper shaker. (Yes, I guess that’s a thing.)

My first find was a statue of St. Tarcicus- the patron saint of first communicants. I recognized the image right away. He was similar to the stained glass image in the church where I had done my student teaching. He was young, innocent looking, and holding a chalice in his hands.

He was also $1 which seemed extraordinarily cheap considering he was beaten to death in the streets of Rome while trying to bring the Eucharist to Christians in prison.

I thought about putting him down but then a memory popped up into my head like a “Whack a Mole.” A few years previous to this experience I had been walking through a rather colorful neighborhood in Chicago when I had seen a statue of the Virgin Mary collecting dust in an eccentric second hand clothing store.

 

Shrine of Christ the King- Chicago, IL

She had clearly been in a church at one point.She was also wearing a sombrero and a “Jesus is My Homeboy” shirt. 

I felt so frustrated and sad as I walked past the store. Who do these people think they are? Why is it funny to mock us? Would they do this to items that are considered holy for other religions?

I got home and told my husband.

I was expecting him to side with me.

And he did- sort of.

“Why didn’t you just go in and buy it?” he asked.

The thought had never occurred to me. I tried to explain to him that we didn’t have a lot of expendable money. How could we afford a church sized statue? Where would we put it?

I can’t remember what he said… exactly. But I remember how I felt afterwards.

Perhaps we didn’t have tons of money. Perhaps it would have looked funny to have a huge statue of the Virgin Mary in our tiny kitchen.

But she belonged to us and in a place where people would love her and treat her with respect.

She was a part of our shared culture with other Catholics.

And ultimately, it is everyone’s responsibility to protect our story, teach others to respect who we are, and to collect and distribute useful holy items.

I could have easily found a church or religious group for the sombrero wearing Mary.

Back in the present time, I dug around in my back pocket and pulled out a crumpled dollar that I was saving for a popsicle from the palates man. (I could write a whole post about Mexican popsicles… but I digress)

St. Tarcicus now sits on my window ledge with other orbiting bits of Catholic life that I have found in the cracks of thrift stores and basements. I have collected a Ukrainian Mary and Jesus picture, stacks of icons, a Lladro Jesus, a few Marian themed vases, Catholic missals, Bibles, and a box of medals and scapulars.

Some of these items have stayed with us but most have left and now sit on the shelves of other Catholic homes and churches.

And I would like to believe that, once again, they are loved and used properly.

I think we live in a world which trends towards a sort of romanticized monasticism. We regularly get pitched buzzwords like “mindfulness” and “minimalism.”

I am not here to disprove the importance of living in the moment or to argue that capitalism and materialism are actually the true paths towards eternal happiness.

They aren’t.

I certainly believe that gratefulness and intentional stewardship will lead one’s soul into a more permanent and robust sense of joy.

But what I love about the Catholic Church is that there are so many “yes, and” moments. In this particular case, “YES, you can be a good steward of your wealth AND the items you use can (and should!) be beautiful.”

YES, the body of Christ can be found wherever two or three are gathered in His name AND we can make the space we do regularly meet in a beautiful representation of what we believe.

Sts. Volodymyr & Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church- Chicago, IL

Catholic art- converts.

Stained glass windows- soothe aching hearts.

Icons of saints- teach us about a faithful life.

The Catholic Church has a working definition of truth, goodness, and beauty that extends through centuries of liturgy, art, and music. In a very (very, very, very) small way, I feel like my mini ministry can pay homage to the preservation of our identity and the belief that in this crazy, upside down world, the Catholic life will continue and ultimately prevail.

Perhaps for me- one thrift store at a time.

Categories
Ink Slingers Motherhood Sacramentals Susan

Stop Running in Circles & Accept Our Lady’s Gift

Everyone has their own story from 9/11/2001. When my husband called me on the phone from work, I turned on the television and watched the events of the day in disbelief. Then all of a sudden, I ran up to my bedroom and put on my Brown Scapular; it has been on ever since. I finally chose to accept my Mother’s help.

Up to that day I had been toiling with the idea of wearing the Scapular. I would have it on my bed stand at night and keep it in my pocket during the day. But wearing it under my garments made me feel strange. I was a convert, and still had preconceived notions about Mary that were not accurate. The tug-o-war in my thoughts and heart would not settle and decide. But the morning of 9/11 convinced me that I needed Our Mother and it was time to move forward. Sadly, it took seeing the 9/11 atrocities for me to realize life is too short to be undecided on life.

Now in 2017 we find the Church celebrating the 100th anniversary of the visits of Our Lady of Fatima to the three shepherd children. There are many reminders of her messages and this year’s indulgences, but a dear friend pointed out that none of the lists she has read mentioned the Scapular as part of her message to the children and to us. We discussed and researched why this may be. It seems from my findings that the Scapular is disregarded by many Catholics. Some say it is not historically accurate; others believe it to be superstition. Yet there are valid traditions and promises that have continued to be taught by the Popes that go back to the Middle Ages. Additionally, misuse of this sacramental comes from lack of education, not superstition. Being that we are women, many of us mothers, seeking to follow Our Lady’s example, there is much to be gained from accepting the gift of the Brown Scapular for ourselves and for our children.

The scapular is a rectangular garment with a hole in the middle for the person’s head to fit through so that the remainder hangs over the shoulders before and behind the person’s body. This apron-like garment has been part of the monks’ habit as a sign of their willingness to serve and work since the time of St. Benedict. The monks wear it on the outside, but lay people wear a smaller version under their garments. The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel has been a sign since the 1300s that the wearer has given his life to Mary in a very special way, called consecration. Our Lady, surrounded by angels, appeared to St. Simon Stock in 1251 to give him a scapular for the Carmelite order to wear. He had been pleading for help for his failing order, and this apparition was an answer to his prayer. It has been held credible that her words, known as the Scapular Promise, were spoken to him and that her protection extends to all, even lay Catholics, who wear the Brown Scapular. Her words were, “Receive, my beloved son, this habit of thy order. Whoever dies invested with this Scapular shall be preserved from eternal flames. It is a sign of salvation, a sure safeguard in danger, a pledge of peace and of my special protection until the end of ages.” This means “those who wear the Scapular devoutly will either persevere in the state of sanctifying grace, or they will be granted the grace of perfect contrition at the hour of death.”

At Fatima in 1917 the Scapular was presented in a silent vision conveying to the shepherd children its importance: on October 13th in the third vision in the sky Mary appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel holding out the Brown Scapular. Some think that since Mary said nothing, then the Brown scapular is not necessary. But Lucia, the one shepherd child whom God kept on earth until recent years, has shed light on this issue. When asked why Our Lady appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the last vision, she answered, “Because Our Lady wants all to wear the Scapular…The reason for this is that the Scapular is our sign of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” Then she said, “The Scapular and Rosary are inseparable.” (Mary in Her Scapular Promise, James Mathias Haffert, AMI Press 1954). So, if we pray the Rosary, desire peace, conversion and holiness, the natural next step is to give ourselves and our children entirely to Jesus through Mary. We can do so wearing the Brown Scapular.

The Scapular certainly is a garment made by Our Blessed Mother for her children; it parallels Christ’s seamless garment that was made by his Mother and for which lots were cast at his crucifixion. It was one woven piece with an opening for his head. So, too, is the Scapular; when wearing it, we are wearing her carefully designed “garment of grace.” Hence, the Scapular is a sacramental help, meaning it can provide us with grace according to our disposition and openness. It serves as a reminder to follow the call to holiness not as orphans, but as loved children. After 16 years of wearing mine, I cannot imagine not having it on; it has reminded me to keep reaching for God in the darkest of times.

Related topics worth researching are Marian Consecration, Home Enthronement to the Two Hearts, and First Saturday devotion. If you have never heard of consecration to Jesus through Mary, I suggest you research St. Louis de Montfort and read Morning Glory by Father Gaitley. This book is beautiful for adults and teens. Home Enthronements are beautiful, and once it is done, things change for the better in the home. It it a way for your family to invite Jesus and Mary into your home. First Saturdays are a lovely devotion to make reparation for those who do not love Our Blessed Mother.

I will end with a family story: Our family decided to Enthrone our home and our whole family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary years ago. My youngest was about 3 or 4. Enthronements includes a short ceremony, which is long to a 4 year old, then enrollment into the Brown Scapular Confraternity for anyone not yet enrolled. I was having my two youngest enrolled that day, but not with their acceptance. During the prayer ceremony when my youngest kept running in circles in and out of the living room, I was not expecting her to get enrolled. Father came to the point to enroll the girls and all of a sudden my youngest came to a braking halt right in front of him. He proceeded with the enrollment blessing while she stood so still, so sweet; we were all in smiles. Then when Father was done, she went immediately back to running in circles! It was funny, but a clear witness that the souls of children desire Our Lady’s help and they love her. We adults make faith and devotion so complicated. But before Mary we can learn to be children again. By the way, my daughters have not taken the Scapulars off since that day, and they are 14 and 16 now!

I invite you to explore these devotions and make them a part of your lives and your families’ lives. May we all be blessed! Amen.

NOTES:

Brown Scapular

When you research the Brown Scapular you will find it must be made of woven brown (or black) wool, with or without pictures of Our Lady on it, and attached by any type of cord to lay over the shoulders so the wool squares hang in front and behind the heart. The Church asks a few things from those who wear the Scapular in order that they may receive the Promises of Our Lady; wearing the Scapular is not simply a free ticket to heaven.

From a vision to Pope John XXII and his communication to the Church in a papal bull in 1322, and through subsequent Popes over the centuries, the following is expected for the wearer of the Scapular:

  1. One is to be lawfully enrolled in the Brown Scapular Confraternity which is for life (easy to do with the help of a priest. See below);
  2. One must observe chastity according to one’s state in life;
  3. and one of the following: Pray the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin daily, or
    Observe the required fasts of the Church as well as fasting from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays, or
    Pray the Rosary (5 decades) daily, or
    With permission, substitute another good work

Scapular Enrollment:

You will need Brown Scapulars and holy water on that day. You can find them on Etsy and Ebay. Also, The Catholic Company sells ones with long cords which are comfortable to adults and women who want to tuck the cords under their undergarments. But look around for fair prices. BTW, my mother-in-law uses a small piece of velcro to secure her Scapular under her undergarment straps. I do not, but if the straps show, I figure I am not dressed modestly enough.

Scapular Investiture Ceremony

Priest – Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy.

Respondent – And grant us Thy salvation.

P – Lord, hear my prayer.

R – And let my cry come unto Thee.

P – The Lord be with you.

R – And with your Spirit.

P – Lord Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, sanctify + by Thy power these scapulars, which for love of Thee and for love of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Thy servants will wear devoutly, so that through the intercession of the same Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and protected against the evil spirit, they persevere until death in Thy grace. Thou who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

 THE PRIEST SPRINKLES WITH HOLY WATER THE SCAPULAR AND THE PERSON(S) BEING ENROLLED. HE THEN INVESTS HIM (THEM), SAYING:

 P – Receive this blessed scapular and beseech the Blessed Virgin that through Her merits, you may wear it without stain. May it defend you against all adversity and accompany you to eternal life. Amen.

 AFTER INVESTITURE THE PRIEST CONTINUES WITH THE PRAYERS:

 P – I, by the power vested in me, admit you to participate in all the spiritual benefits obtained through the mercy of Jesus Christ by the Religious Order of Mount Carmel. In the name of the Father + and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. + Amen.

 May God Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and earth, bless + you, He who has deigned to join you to the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel; we beseech Her to crush the head of the ancient serpent so that you may enter into possession of your eternal heritage through Christ our Lord.

R – Amen.

 THE PRIEST THEN SPRINKLES AGAIN WITH HOLY WATER THE PERSON(S) ENROLLED.   

Resources:

https://www.ewtn.com/library/Prayer/zbrwnscap.HTM

www.cmri.org/05-brown-scapular-of-our-lady-of-mount-carmel.shtml

www.aquinasandmore.com/blog/what-is-a-scapular/

www.sistersofcarme.com/brown-scapular-information.php

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Guest Posts Offering your suffering Revelation: Public vs. Private Sacramentals

Spiritual Advice for Chicken Little

Dear Chicken Little (AKA Henny Penny, AKA All Christians today),

I know you are screaming, “The sky is falling!  The sky is falling!”  and you have good reasons to feel this way.  In today’s world all you have to do to become sad, scared and feel hopeless, is open a newspaper, even a Catholic one.  Then when you go online and see or read of other things going on, it intensifies the feeling that there’s no way to combat those feelings because the forces of evil are so potent and so intricately woven into our culture. I bet you feel like St. Peter- you take notice of the storm and the violent waves around you and you think you are sinking.

But take heart!  If you have taken any time to listen to Pope Francis’s words, you will soon learn that he is paying attention to this horrid world we live in.  His message, that of the Gospel, is that everything will be okay. If anyone is surrounded by wolves and Judases, it’s the Holy Father! He knows this–and yet look at his sweet face radiating Joy and Love as he reaches out to your heart, mine, the unevangelized, Catholics and everyone! It’s important to keep up with what’s going on, however, balance is important, too. I’m sure you pray–but our prayers ought not be ones of desperation, but praise in spite of our affliction.

So here is a little list of spiritual advice for our “Chicken Little Moments” and what I do to help me remember this and balance all the bad news:

1.  READ ABOUT THE SAINTS:  

Find good biographies of Saints (bah for dry pieces that do not inspire but read like encyclopedia write ups; or romanticized pieces that make sainthood seem like it’s for only “the chosen ones” like Luke Skywalker instead of EVERYone). The saints were every bit as broken and human as you and I.  They suffered addictions, abuse, tendencies to lust, gluttony, messed up family, etc. None of them *liked* suffering. They all had their Agony in the Garden, Dark Night of the Soul, and Passion.

2.  WATCH MOVIES THAT INSPIRE:

  • For Greater Glory & There Be Dragons–excellent movies about true events during violent revolutions where Catholics were persecuted. We’ve been here before! It will be okay! And which is harder? The long, tedious sacrifice of the white martyrdom that takes decades to kill bodies? Or the quicker, compressed pain and violence of bloody martyrdom? Either way, martyrdom is our call and the gift of courage from the Holy Spirit is needed. And faith–faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit that we MUST pray for! It will be okay!

  • The Passion of Bernadette<–one of my favorites

  • The War of the Vendee — done by homeschooled children, lovely movie and pretty great acting for kids!

3.  READ GOOD BOOKS:

  •  “The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM” the amazing and 100% true story about a Seminarian being forced into the Nazi army.  I recommend it to anyone who is troubled about what’s going down here in the US (because we look an awful lot like Nazi Germany in many ways here–politically speaking with our foreign policy that promotes say, Eugenics). He is spiritually attacked. He is put into the SS because of his outstanding ability, in spite of his openly resisting the Nazi philosophy. He ends up as a POW. This isn’t a flowery book of bragging, but rather a direct autobiography with some hard realities. And it’s incredible. Read it and have hope! God is in charge–even in the midst of the enemy.

  • With God in Russia” is an autobiography of a priest who survives being a POW in Russia during WWII (the Communists were guilty of more devastation than the Nazis: 60M murdered as opposed to 10M).

  • The Miracle of Father Kapaun: Priest, Soldier, and Korean War Hero” Fr. Kapaun is given the medal of honor–by THIS president? That’s a miracle in itself. He was a POW as well.

  • The Island of the World” is one of the most heart wrenching and devastating books of Hope and Faith that I’ve ever read. He’s long winded, but he’s one of THE best Catholic authors out there IMO.

4.  LISTEN TO INSPIRING HOMILIES:

  • Audio Sancto offers anonymous homilies from good orthodox priests.

  • Sensus Traditionis offers more great homilies as well as texts of talks by subject. A webpage dedicated to the defense of the orthodox Catholic faith as well as a promotion of serious academic thought in the areas of Catholic theology and philosophy.

5.  GO ON A MINI-RETREAT:

For me when I need a mini-retreat from the world,  I read a Michael O’Brien book. He’s one of my all time favorite authors. His fiction books show me how to carry my cross–in detail–with the most impossible situations for his protagonists. One of my favorites is “Island of the World.” Talk about the world coming crashing down around the main character who, as a child was in a beautiful Catholic community untouched by the influences of the West–and in a Catholic home, loses everything–violently, in just moments! This is based on true events of Fascists and Communists ravaging the former Yugoslavia (before it was even that) and what happened to the people there. The story line is fictional, but the history is true. He interviewed many people before writing this book. I wept through a good part of the book, because it was just so hard. It’s a testimony of the stoicism of people of faith who have stuck out the worst of conditions with their lives hanging in the balance.

6. LOOK TO HISTORY:  Remember history repeats itself:

  • It happened in Spain.

  • It happened in France (once the Church’s “Eldest Daughter”).

  • It happened in Mexico.

  • It happened in Cuba.

  • It happened in Russia.

  • It happened in the Balkans.

It will continue to happen. Remember the scene on LOTR where the Balrog is falling into the pit? He knows he’s lost and so he goes down thrashing and gnashing–and at the last moment whips his tail up to Gandalf to pull him down as he falls. This is Satan. He knows he’s lost and is on borrowed time. So he’s going to lie and cheat–even murder as he knows he can’t make us go to Hell, but he wants to make us think he can.  He can’t. They can kill my body, but cannot touch my soul. And if they do kill my body, for the sake of Christ–my soul is all the more glorified in His bloody Passion! For my Salvation and the Salvation of others! Deo Gratias!

7.  PRAY:  Going to Adoration and praying is really important in these hard times.  But you can also pray anywhere…and there are several important daily prayers that some Catholics have forgotten about, here’s a handy dandy list:

Lastly, take heart and trust in God because this the day and age and we have yet to have our crisis of faith here in terms of violent revolution. Good and bad. Bad that there’s fear. But good that we have so much history to take comfort from. And it’s okay to feel like St. Peter and feel yourself sinking but remember to stop looking down and look up because Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior, is close by ready to calm the waters.

 

GUEST POST:  Written by Monica, mother to five beautiful children out in Texas!

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Alessandra Conversion Faith Formation Feast Days Ink Slingers Mary Novenas Parenting Prayer Sacramentals

Two Hearts Bond: The Sacred and the Immaculate

There exists an incredible bond between the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, something that I had never really noticed until the day I was driving back from my first ultrasound of my firstborn son. As I kept remember the sound of his little heart beating (a sound that brings so much joy to an expecting mother’s heart), it also led me to think that he was comforted by the sound of my heart beating as well.  This led me to think of the Mary and baby Jesus.  When I think about the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I cannot help but also think of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The very first sound that Jesus heard was the beating of His Mother’s Immaculate Heart.  Since Mary gave Jesus His human nature by her genetics, Mary quite literally gave to Jesus His Sacred Heart, born of the love of her own Immaculate Heart. And this all happened because of Jesus’ gratuitous love for Mary.  He gave to her her Immaculate character so that He might unite to humanity in a sinless vessel and receive the unrestrained and untainted love of His Mother.

Now think about why Jesus manifested His Sacred Heart to Saint Margaret Mary.  He did so  largely because of the neglect He suffered in the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle.  Mary, being the Tabernacle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, necessarily shared His sorrows because of this integral bond.  If you have a special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, you should have one to the Sacred Heart; and in turn you should have a special devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Heart, as the Tabernacle of the Most High.

Catholics have always believed that Mary was Immaculate and have always believed that Jesus’ Heart is Sacred.  However, these truths God saw fit to express more clearly after the Reformation through Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque and Saint Catherine Laboure.

It cannot be underestimated the effect on Mary caused by her Immaculate Conception. Unlike the rest of humanity born in sin, never was there a barrier between Mary’s soul and God.  Add to this that she was overshadowed by the Most High, bore God incarnate within her womb, nourished Him in growth, and then dwelt with Our Lord most of His life on Earth, day in and day out.

In having no barrier between her and her Son, Jesus brought to her a life of indescribable joy, always being given the grace of the Godhead in a personal, immediate way, but conversely, the Prophecy of Simeon had the dolorous consequence of His painful and anguishing Passion being equally united to her heart.  The bond is the bond.  Her Immaculate Heart feels all the joy of His Sacred Heart, and her Dolorous Heart suffers all the pains of His Impassioned Heart.

Devotion to Mary is Devotion to Jesus. Marian devotion, especially to her Immaculate Heart, has one purpose: to make our prayers a perfect and acceptable offering to her Son, and unite our lives and souls to her Son more perfectly. Always allow her Immaculate Heart to draw you ever closer to His Sacred Heart because they have been integrally bonded from the moment of His conception.

Listed below are the “12 Promises” of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary to encourage all Catholics to know and understand the benefit of practicing the Devotion and to encourage all to take up its immediate practice.

  1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
  2. I will give peace in their families and will unite families that are divided.
  3. I will console them in all their troubles.
  4. I will be their refuge during life and above all in death.
  5. I will bestow the blessings of Heaven on all their enterprises.
  6. Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
  7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
  8. Fervent souls shall rise quickly to great perfection.
  9. I will bless those places wherein the image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored and will imprint My love on the hearts of those who would wear this image on their person. I will also destroy in them all disordered movements.
  10. I will give to priests who are animated by a tender devotion to my Divine Heart the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
  11. Those who promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart, never to be effaced.
  12. I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence: they will not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their Sacraments. My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

(The Nine Fridays must be made in honor of His Sacred Heart, meaning, practicing the devotion and having a great love of His Sacred Heart. They must be on the first Friday of the month for nine consecutive months, and Communion must be received.)

The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a moveable feast, which means that it depends on the date of Easter Sunday. It is celebrated 19 days after Pentecost Sunday, which falls on the 50th day of Easter. This year, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus falls on June 7, 2013, tomorrow.

Our family has a strong devotion to the Sacred Heart; even before my husband and I met we each had our own devotion, so when we found out we had this in common it was quite easy to talk about the Faith.  Naturally, one of the first things we did was to consecrate our home to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts.  In this we enthroned and consecrated our home to the Sacred Heart as King and the Immaculate Heart as Queen of our family.  Along with this act, we commissioned an artist, Mary Henley, to paint an image of the Two Hearts to be placed over our mantle, or family altar.  Why would we want to make this act?  Well, simple, our families gain enormous additional graces and blessings at this, the time we need them most, if the installation of His image is accompanied by a formal ceremony done by a priest, and by a Consecration of the Family to the love of His Sacred Heart.

Have you Consecrated your Domestic Church to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts?  Ask your parish priest today about enrolling your family and also order materials for the consecration at MyConsecration.org for FREE.

Order your free consecration materials to make the St. Louis de Montfort Consecration to Jesus through Mary