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Advent Domestic Church Liturgical Year Maurisa The Latin Mass

3 Devotions for Advent

Advent is such a beautiful season of anticipation and preparation. There are so many wonderful saints to celebrate and devotions to practice.  Over the years we’ve observed the passage of Advent using the Jesse Tree and an Advent Calendar. We’ve joyfully celebrated the feasts of Saint Nicholas, Saint Lucy, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the Immaculate Conception. My family loves the traditions associated with each of these devotions. As I’ve learned more about many of the older, lesser known traditions we’ve added more to our Advent observances.  Three absolutely lovely traditional devotions are observing the Advent Ember Days, attending a special advent mass dedicated to Our Lady called a Rorate Mass, and praying the ancient O Antiphons before our evening family rosary.

Ember Days

Basically, Ember Days occur four times a year and roughly coincide with the change of seasons. The Ember Days of Advent fall the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday following Saint Lucy’s feast on December 13th. Ember Days are marked by voluntary, partial fast and abstinence from meat (full abstinence on Friday, of course) as penance, by prayerful gratitude for God’s abundant gifts, and in especial prayer for the priesthood.  If you have access to a Traditional Latin Mass parish you can attend mass in which the Ember Days are particularly observed in the readings and propers for the day. For a more in-depth look at the observance of Ember Days, check out the link at the end of this post to an article I wrote for Catholic Sistas a few years ago.

Rorate Mass

A special mass found only in the Extraordinary Form is the Rorate Caeli Mass or Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary for Advent. It honors the Blessed Mother as the vessel which bore the Light of the World. Celebrated in the early morning before dawn and lit only by candlelight the church progressively grows brighter as the sun begins to rise. The symbolism of awaiting the dawn and arrival of the Light of the World is palpable. What a lovely way to honor Our Lady and what a deeply transcendent way to celebrate Advent meaningfully. I attended my first Rorate Mass last Advent. It was so incredibly peaceful and breathtakingly beautiful. With the times we are living in, if you are blessed enough to have access to a Traditional Latin Mass parish this devotion is definitely one with potential to raise your observance of Advent to a new level.

O Antiphons

Praying the O Antiphons on the days leading up to Christmas Eve is probably the easiest and most accessible of the three devotions to implement. Over a thousand years old, the O Antiphons are the seven antiphons recited preceding the Magnificat during Vespers. They are so named because each antiphon begins with “O”—O Sapientia (Wisdom), O Adonai (Lord), O Radix Jesse (Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (Key of David), O Oriens (Rising sun), O Rex Gentium (King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel (God with Us).  You may recognize each of the 7 titles of the Messiah from the familiar Advent hymn O Come O Come Emmanuel

You can easily pray the O Antiphons at home with your family. Beginning on December 17th and ending on December 23rd recite the appropriate O Antiphon, then the Magnificat, and then the O Antiphon once again. Family Feast and Feria has a lovely free printable prayer booklet you can download to assist in observing this beautiful devotion. For your little ones; Look to Him and Be Radiant has coloring pages for each of the O Antiphons. It’s a wonderful devotion that draws us into the mystery and prophesies of Christ.

If you end up adopting one of these traditional devotions this Advent, let us know in the comments. May you and your families have a most blessed and fruitful Advent and may you be well prepared to welcome the Christ Child into your hearts and homes this Christmas.

References and Resources

What are Ember Days

Rorate Caeli Masses in Honor of Our Lady

Praying the O Antiphons

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Faith Formation Ink Slingers Mary Maurisa Prayer Rosary

The World Needs the Rosary Now More Than Ever

The World Needs the Rosary Now More Than Ever

Saint Dominic and the Rosary

Early in the 13th century in a church in Prouilhe, France, Saint Dominic poured out in prayer his grief and frustrations to the Blessed Mother.  His attempts to combat the heresy of the Albigenses were less than successful and Dominic had turned to prayer, weeping, and harsh penances on the behalf of sinners.  Our Lady appeared to him in his distress and encouraged him to pray her Psalter:

I want you to know that in this kind of warfare, the principal weapon has always been the Angelic Psalter, which is the foundation stone of the New Testament. Therefore, if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter.” Our Lady’s message to Saint Dominic

Instructed by Our Lady to spread her Psalter of 150 Angelic Salutations and 15 Our Fathers, Dominic further distinguished the mysteries of salvation into three categories—the Incarnation, the Redemption, and Eternal Life.  Saint Dominic promulgated this new devotion with great success and it is due to the faithful teaching and praying of the Rosary the Albigensian heresy was eventually driven out of Europe.

Pilgrimage

This past October, our family had the privilege of traveling on a pilgrimage to Europe, visiting several Marian Shrines including Fatima, Lourdes, La Salette, and Loretto. We discovered that the church in which Dominic received the Rosary was along our route between Lourdes and La Salette.  What better way to observe the month devoted to the Holy Rosary and honor Our Blessed Mother’s gift than to pray a Rosary on the very spot it was given to us?

We had no difficulty locating the Basilica of Sainte-Marie de Prouilhe and drove with anticipation down the gravel drive to the church on the grounds of a monastery still occupied by Dominican nuns.  We approached the entry of the church but the doors were unfortunately locked.  A flyer on a bulletin board at a side entrance promised the convent bookstore would open shortly.  Hoping we might eventually gain entrance to the church from the shopkeeper we explored the grounds and waited.  Unfortunately, the shop never opened and we began to sense our pilgrimage was futile. We then decided we could at least pray a Rosary on the steps of the basilica.  As we prayed an elderly sister walked down the drive toward the convent and stopped to speak with us.  She spoke almost no English and we spoke very little French.  She was quite surprised to find pilgrims interested in seeing the church. We came to understand we would not be granted a tour.

The once beautiful and thriving basilica is neglected and has fallen into disrepair.  It broke my heart to even think this historical treasure of the Church has been forgotten.  If only it could be saved.  We read on the monastery website that the community had appealed for donation to save and restore the basilica – 2.600.000 euros is needed to complete phase one of the restoration.  The project has only been able to raise 750.000 euros.  Masses and community prayer are still said in the church daily, otherwise, the apparition site is mostly forgotten.

What the World Needs Now

We live in troubling times. It’s an almost daily ritual to read the news and see stories of powerful men exposed. As frightening predators, natural disasters and the devastation they wreak on helpless people, attacks on innocent tourists and pilgrims, division and turmoil in the Church. Sin, misery, and heresy seemingly increase in our day, and I can’t help but think of the work of Saint Dominic. We need the Rosary more than ever.  We need Our Lady from Sainte-Marie de Prouilhe’s message preached from every corner of the globe. 

The Rosary is the weapon for these times.

Saint Padre Pio

Let us recommit ourselves to frequent, fervent prayer.  Let us wield the powerful Psalter of Our Lady and beseech her intercession in our time of need.  Let us not allow the Rosary to fall into neglect and disrepair as has the lovely church in Prouihle.

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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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Ink Slingers

October- The Most Holy Rosary

October is the month dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary!

One of the most popular devotions ever conceived in the Church has to be the Most Holy Rosary. Developed relatively early in the Church and promoted by various saints including St. Louis de Montfort and St. Dominic, it gives devotees a wonderful opportunity to grow closer to Our Lady. In fact, Our Lady appeared to children in Fatima (an apparition that resulted in another name for Mary– Our Lady of Fatima) to advise praying the rosary every day.

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For those unfamiliar, the rosary is a set of beads strung together in a circle, with an extra set of beads dangling down with a cross at the end. The prayers used include O, My Jesus; Hail Mary; Our Father; Glory Be; Apostle’s Creed; and Hail Holy Queen. Each rosary entails 5 decades of Hail Mary’s in which the person is to reflect on a particular mystery of our faith relating to Jesus or Our Lady.

The mysteries of the Rosary are divided into four categories, three original (Sorrowful, Joyful, Glorious) and one added in 2002 by Pope John Paul II (the Luminous mysteries). When praying the Rosary, typically one category is chosen for reflection during that Rosary.

 

The Mysteries of the Rosary

Sorrowful

  1. The Agony in the Garden
  2. The Scouring at the Pillar
  3. The Crowning with Thorns
  4. The Carrying of the Cross
  5. The Crucifixion and Death of our Lord 

Joyful

  1. The Annunciation
  2. The Visitation
  3. The Nativity
  4. The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
  5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple

 

Glorious

  1. The Resurrection
  2. The Ascension
  3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
  4. The Assumption of Mary
  5. The Coronation of the Virgin

 

Luminous

  1. The Baptism of Jesus
  2. The Wedding at Cana
  3. Jesus’ Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
  4. The Transfiguration
  5. The Instititution of the Eucharist

 

How to Pray the Most Holy Rosary

There is a suggested order for when to pray different sets of mysteries, though it is merely a suggestion, not a requirement. The suggested allocation is:

Monday            Joyful
Tuesday           Sorrowful
Wednesday     Glorious
Thursday         Luminous
Friday              Sorrowful
Saturday         Joyful
Sunday           Glorious

A versatile type of devotion, the rosary can be prayed by focusing on singular sets of mysteries, or can be prayed with all 15-20 mysteries by adding together all the decades. It is common to add some form of prayer intention, and you can even do a shortened 1-decade prayer.

october

Praying the rosary can feel really daunting because of the large number of prayers. But it is good to keep in mind that you do not have to pray it all at once. In fact, you do not even have to remember all the prayer sequence or mysteries to get started! You could have a printout and a physical rosary, or you could use a cell phone app such as Laudate (available for both Android and Apple users), which has an interactive rosary feature allowing you to select the set of mysteries to focus on (it also lets you know which is typically prayed that day of the week), and you tap the bead as you go along. If you don’t know the prayer, or want a reflection on the given mystery, you can tap the prayer next to the labeled bead image and it will provide that for you.  There are also a variety of apps that will pray the rosary aloud for you to follow along. EWTN has a televised rosary as well.

Any way that you choose to pray the Most Holy Rosary, I hope you benefit from the wonderful meditation reflection it provides!

Craft

There are tons of crafts and coloring pages available to illustrate and teach the rosary to children. Here is a wonderful one from Catholic Icing.

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Books Ink Slingers Karen Mary Reviews Spiritual Growth

33 Days to Morning Glory: A Book Review

A few weeks ago, a new friend told me about a program coming up at an area Catholic Church called 33 Days to Morning Glory. A group meeting once a week would watch a video after reading a chapter of a book by the same title and completing daily reflections. Not knowing anything about it, I looked it up online and found that it was a Marian consecration preparation. Uh, no thanks. I was accepting of Mary, admiring even. After all, how could you not admire the woman who bore and raised Jesus, and gave a humble, yet confident “yes” to God at the Annunciation? But the stretch of being consecrated to Mary? I was not interested. But, I thought about it. A closer relationship to all the holy men and women of God, including Mary, was undoubtedly a good thing. So, I realized I ought to try it at some point.

The same new frie33daysof morning glorynd brought up the Morning Glory program to me again, forgetting she had previously mentioned it. I said I would think about it, and almost immediately realized that everything that was going through my mind causing me to shy away (busy, hassle of bringing kids to a meeting, not really interested in a consecration, etc) were not good reasons to not attend, participate and explore what our beautiful faith has to offer about Mary. In fact, being too busy for Our Lady and for something that could draw me closer to Christ was undoubtedly a feeling not rooted in God, but in the Evil One attempting to draw me away.

In starting the readings, I learned something right off the top. This was not a consecration to Mary, but a consecration to Jesus through Mary. Burden lifted. This was not a form of Marian worship. Phew!  Also, this Marian consecration is based on one outlined by St. Louis deMontfort and expanded on, or otherwise followed by other saints who followed him.

The book is broken into four chapters (along with an introduction at the start and a final preparations section at the end), each dedicated to a particular person known for their devotion to Mary: St. Louis deMontfort, St. Maximillian Kolbe, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and St. Pope John Paul II.

St. Louis deMontfort demands that we devote ourselves to Mary. That we give our whole selves over, including our prayers, petitions, and graces, for Our Lady to do as she sees fit. She in turn gives us grace and peace to do God’s work. At first this was so very hard for me to stomach. Giving everything to Mary, given my pre-existing hesitancies…well, I almost decided the whole thing wasn’t for me right then and there. But something, perhaps the Holy Spirit, nudged me to continue. St. Maximillian Kolbe said more of the same, but called for even more: developing an army of folks devoted to Mary. Okay. That was hard too.Pray for Intercessions

But then the book dives into Blessed Mother Teresa and her spiritual journey. It was this that sold me on Marian consecration. She had a deep and wonderful relationship with God. The most beautiful of which discusses how the darkness we experience is when we are closest to Jesus; that suffering is necessary to gain that sort of relationship with Jesus. And Mary can help us with this. St. Pope John Paul II has even more wisdom to offer. I won’t dive too deeply in each section because it is best for it to be read in contemplation in order to get the most out of it. But it is a beautiful book, with a wonderful opportunity for growth in faith and love of Christ, and really does a thorough job of preparing you to give your heart to Mary to use to serve the world and salvation best.

If you choose to do the retreat, whether privately (the book may be purchased on Amazon) or in a parish group, prepare for setbacks. This will bring you closer to Jesus, and Satan is not a fan. Literally every week, there has been something that nearly keeps me from a meeting, causes me to be late, takes me out early, or interrupts my reflections and reading through the week. It has taken serious effort to do the work of the preparations. We’ve had a cold, a stomach bug, a major water leak in our bathroom, kid potty accidents during a meeting, and on and on. Pray more. Go into it knowing things may will come up. But offer it up to Jesus through Mary.

I strongly recommend to anyone considering Marian consecration, or considering simply a good book to read that will bring you closer to Jesus through Mary, to pick up 33 Days to Morning Glory by Father Michael E. Gaitley. It’s a marvelous read and one to surely bring you closer to Jesus through Our Lady.