Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Praying By Hand

by M. Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O.

Hail Mary:  The Ave

The Ave also has a gospel origin, though not entirely.  It was not offered there as a prayer, and the form we know only gradually came together.  The earliest rosary or psalter of Mary was made up of the earliest form of the Ave - simply the angelic salutation: "Hail, Mary, full of grace.  The Lord is with you."  In the little office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as it was recited in the monastic choirs, the antiphonal response to this angelic salutation was the greeting that Elizabeth gave to her cousin: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb."  The carryover to the psalter of our Lady was quite natural.

Pope Urban IV (1261-1264) asked the faithful to add "Jesus Christ."  In the course of the following centuries, however, the title "Christ" got lost.  Perhaps it was because one of the earlier popular forms of the rosary added a different modifying phrase after each repetition of the Ave (Jesus, born of Mary; Jesus, risen from the dead; and so on), and the inclusion of the Christ title proved too cumbersome.

Up to this point, the Ave is not a prayer in the sense of a petition.  It is simply an honorific salutation.  Phrases from the offices of the monks, such as "Pray for us, O holy Mother of God," led to further additions to the Ave.  Various phrases were used until "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death" became common by the end of the fifteenth century.  Pope Saint Pius V canonized this wording in his breviary in 1568.

It would be hard to doubt the presence of the Holy Spirit guiding this long evolution, for the result is an exquisitely beautiful prayer.  With one of heaven's great spirits as our mentor, we approach Mary with gracious delicacy, honoring her greatest prerogatives: that she is totally pleasing to God, filled with God, worthy to be the mother of God.  We honor her for what she is: woman.  And we delight her in honoring her child, calling him blessed.  Graciousness opens the way for grace.  We can now make our petition.  We pray to the mother of God, knowing that nothing ca be denied her.  (Remember Cana.)  She, as a mother, knows our needs far better than we, so we content ourselves simply to ask her intercession for us now, caring for our present needs, and at the hour when we will experience our greatest need and most want a mother near.  It is not surprising to me how often a Christian who has used the rosary through life holds it in his or her hand at the hour of death - a witness of faith, a pledge to heaven, a silent but powerful prayer.

pgs. 23-25

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist (Prophet and Martyr)

The Last Prophet’s Last Offering

John the Baptist was born about six months before his cousin, Jesus Christ. We remember the Virgin Mary, who had just conceived the Word of God, hurrying to meet her cousin Elizabeth, who was in the sixth month of her miraculous pregnancy. Elizabeth was considered far too old to conceive a child, but she waited with faith and hope, and the love of the Lord, Who was faithful as He always is. She and Zachariah, her husband, made a promise to God that they would name their child John.

The birth of John the Baptist is commemorated on June 24, and his martyrdom on August 29. John had been sent by the Lord to prepare the way for the Messiah. He is the last prophet before the Birth of Christ. He was actively “preparing the way of the Lord” by baptizing and boldly proclaiming the need for people to repent of their sins. His message was directed to the poor and weak, and the rich and powerful. He dressed in camel’s hair and ate locusts and wild honey, yet people were drawn to his message of repentance and forgiveness, and flocked to him to be baptized. Christ Himself came to John to be baptized, to mark the beginning of His public ministry. Humble, John tried to refuse but did baptize Jesus, and we see here the first “Theophany” — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all present as distinct Persons.

According to St. Mark’s Gospel (6:14-29), John had publicly criticized King Herod for living with his brother’s wife. (This was not Herod the Great, who had tried to kill the infant Jesus, but rather one of his sons.) Herod had John arrested and imprisoned, though he had no definite idea of what to do next. St. Mark tells us that “Herod feared John, knowing him to be a holy and upright man…. When he heard him speak he was very much disturbed, yet he felt the attraction of his words” (Mk 6:20).

Herodias, Herod’s sister-in-law, had no such respect for John. Embarrassed by his speaking out against her living arrangement with Herod, she was determined to have him killed. Her daughter (traditionally known as Salome) performed a dance at Herod’s birthday feast which delighted the king and his guests so much that he publicly promised to grant her anything she wanted, up to half his kingdom. Prompted by her mother, the girl asked for John’s head. Because of his guests, Herod reluctantly agreed, and dispatched the executioner, who beheaded John. When his disciples heard of this, they came and took away the Baptist’s body, and then informed Jesus. Speaking of John, Jesus said, “Among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist” (Mt 11:11).


Saturday, August 28, 2010

St. Augustine

God of life, there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and wear us down; when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies gray and threatening; when our lives have no music in them and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost their courage. Flood the path with light, we beseech you; turn our eyes to where the skies are full of promise.

(From Prayers of the Saints: An Inspired Collection of Holy Wisdom, ed. Woodeene Koenig-Bricker - San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1996)



Friday, August 27, 2010

St. Monica

O God, You observed the devout tears and pleading of St. Monica, and granted to her prayers the conversion of her husband and the penitential return of her son, Augustine.  Grant us the grace to implore You also with earnest zeal, so that we may obtain, as she did, the salvation of our own soul and of those belonging to us!  Through Christ our Lord, Amen.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Our Lady of Czestochowa

Holy Mother of Czestochowa, Thou art full of grace, goodness and mercy. I consecrate to Thee all my thoughts, words and actions, my soul and body. I beseech Thy blessings and especially prayers for my salvation. Today, I consecrate myself to Thee, Good Mother, totally, with body and soul amid joy and sufferings to obtain for myself and others Thy blessings on this earth and eternal life in Heaven.



Wednesday, August 25, 2010


The mission of FAMILIA is to help women live their vocation to marriage and parenthood in all its fullness. Teams of 8-10 women meet bi-monthly for an hour and a half to read the Gospel and study the teaching of the Church through the Catechism and writings of Pope John Paul II. It is interactive with time for questions and answers regarding the material and also time for personal sharing. It is a time to make friendships with other women who share a desire for a closer union with Christ and His Blessed Mother.
The first year is entitled "Authentic Feminism" in which we learn to see ourselves as Christ sees us. It consists of 9 sessions.  Both morning and evening sessions are available: at St. Thomas Aquinas on the 2nd and 4th Fridays, 9:30-11am starting on Oct 8; at St. Thomas Aquinas on 2nd and 4th Tuesdays from 7-8:30 pm starting Oct 12; evenings at St. Joseph Church, the day yet to be decided.
It is a 4-year program, but it is not required to participate in all 4 years. There is a workbook specific to each year that each participant orders online and the cost is approx. $49. (We have a few scholarships available if someone needs financial help. Inability to pay should not discourage anyone.)
Childcare will be provided for a small fee. If you have questions/concerns/need more information, please call or email Meredith Olson (olsonjm25 at aol dot com 695-6440) or Patty Veazey (pveazey at gmail dot com 777-5045).
Sign-ups are on-line now at familiausa.net. Books are ordered online at that website for $42 plus shipping.

A Wife's Prayer

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You instituted marriage in the earthly Paradise and in the New Law You elevated it to the dignity of a sacrament, attaching to it many graces.  Grant to my husband and me the grace to live holily in so sacred a state and, by the practice of Christian virtues, to act always as is becoming a Christian couple.  As Your minister joined our hands at the holy altar, so may we journey through life with one heart and soul, tasting its pleasures with moderation, enduring its sorrows with resignation and, at all times, mutually assisting and consoling each other.

May Your true and holy fear strengthen us to serve You uprightly with pure heart and eyes and lips, in mutual esteem and for bearance!  Grant that the children born of our union may be pure of heart and well-disposed in mind, and that they may gladly walk in the way of Your Commandments.  Teach us to be faithful images of the Holy Family of Nazareth, of the blessed foster-father Joseph, of the most devout Mother Mary, the most blessed Mother of the Child Jesus, that we may be made worthy to live under their protection, to die in their favor, to be forever blessed in their company.


Taken from Mother Love:  A Prayer Book for Christian Wives and Mothers


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

St. Bartholomew

substain within us the faith
which made Saint Bartholomew ever loyal to Christ.
Let your Church be the sign of salvation
for all the nations of the world.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



Monday, August 23, 2010

St. Rose of Lima

God, You filled Saint Rose with love for You and enabled her to leave the world and be free for You through the austerity of penance. Through her intercession, help us to follow her footsteps on earth and enjoy the torrent of Your delights in Heaven. Amen.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Queenship of Mary

On August 22, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates a memorial in honor of the Queenship of Mary. This memorial is placed within an octave, that is, eight days after celebrating Mary's Assumption into Heaven. The Queenship can be considered a prolongation of the celebration of the Assumption.

“Let the entire body of the faithful pour forth persevering prayer to the Mother of God and Mother of men. Let them implore that she who aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers may now, exalted as she is in heaven above all the saints and angels, intercede with her Son in the fellowship of all the saints. May she do so until all the peoples of the human family, whether they are honored with the name of Christian or whether they still do not know their Savior, are happily gathered together in peace and harmony into the one People of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 69).

Saturday, August 21, 2010

St. Pius X, Pope

Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven. -- Pope Saint Pius X

to defend the Catholic faith
and to make all things new in Christ,
You filled St. Pius X
with heavenly wisdom and apostolic courage.
May his example and teaching
lead us to the reward of eternal life.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



Friday, August 20, 2010

St. Bernard

“In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may more surely obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal” (St. Bernard).



Thursday, August 19, 2010

St. John Eudes

you chose the priest John Eudes
to preach the infinite riches of Christ.
By his teaching and example
help us to know You better
and live faithfully in the light of the gospel.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Subsidiarity Over Social Justice

by Dr. Paul Kengor

We’re hearing a lot about “social justice” lately. If only we heard half as much about “subsidiarity.” When it comes to truly helping the needy, few words are so instructive. Unfortunately, very few Catholics have even heard of this core Catholic social-economic teaching.

When it comes to assisting the needy, subsidiarity encourages localism. Think about it: Localities, whether public or private, from counties to churches, are closer to the problem; they offer a more efficient, human touch than a distant bureaucracy. Most importantly, as the Catechism states (1885): “The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism. It sets limits for state intervention.”

In addition to the Catechism, I strongly recommend Catholics visit the website of the Acton Institute to learn about subsidiarity.

I’m convinced, from study after study, and years of observing public policy, from the New Deal to the Great Society, that addressing poverty in the narrow federal, collectivist way preached by modern progressives—in the language of “social justice”—is counter-productive, fostering rather than lessening dependency.

In fact, the long experience of economies shows that those titled toward collectivism—to a single central government—become so unproductive and lacking in prosperity that they can’t produce the very wealth that progressives want to redistribute in the first place. That’s the self-defeating danger that social-justice engineers face as they shift private charity to a federal collective.

That’s not the policy of the Catholic Church. It’s incumbent among Catholics to learn more about this blessed concept of subsidiarity. Ask your priest about it, or your Religious Ed director. If they haven’t heard about it, look it up together.

Go to the Catechism, open the index, and look under “sub.” You won’t regret it.

For a more in-depth read, check out http://www.acton.org/pub/religion-liberty/volume-6-number-4/principle-subsidiarity

Monday, August 16, 2010

Open House - A Success!

Thank you all for coming to our Open House.  It was so nice to see so many new faces.  For those of you that were unable to attend, here is a synopsis of what was discussed at the meeting:

  • We are currently in need of new leadership. Positions available are: Head Leader, Co-Leader, Babysitter Coordinator/Finance, Meal Coordinator, Childcare Activities Coordinator, and a PR Coordinator. Julia Motekaitis recently stepped down from the Head Coordinator position and will now serve as our Service Coordinator. Rebecca Najvar recently stepped down from the Finance position and will now serve as our Blog Administrator. Paula Boulanger will serve as our Social Coordinator.
  • We have added the position of Service Coordinator this year, and hope to have lots of opportunities for us to give back to the community. If you have any service projects that are close to your heart, please contact Julia Motekaitis.
  • Our blog contains lots of great resources, including our calendar of events. If you would like to submit an article, book review or your favorite prayer, please contact Rebecca Najvar. Please, consider becoming a follower or subscribing to the posts, so you can stay up-to-date on all that is happening with Joyful Hearts.
  • Babysitting Funds – We are currently collecting donations to pay for our babysitters. On November 13 and 14, St. Thomas Aquinas will be holding an Ignatius Book Fair. All proceeds will go towards babysitting fees for Joyful Hearts, Familia, The Better Part, and the baptism classes. We also hope to have a permanent bookstore at STA, so that the funds will continue to come in for these groups. Volunteers will be needed for the book fair.
  • We are currently studying Graced and Gifted by Kimberly Hahn. We will resume this book study at our August 30th meeting. Please feel free to suggest other books you think might be a good fit for the group. We also hope to have quite a few speakers throughout the year.
  • In this ever-changing world of motherhood, we sometimes find we have certain needs or issues that Joyful Hearts may not be addressing. Since we only meet twice a month, we are very limited in our time together. You are encouraged to start up a special interest group. For example, last year several ladies got together about once a month in the evening to discuss raising boys. There is also interest in getting a group together to study The Volumes by Ann, a Lay Apostle. We also hope to organize prayer partners (for more information, please contact Erin Dvorak).

Marilyn Vargas has offered to be our PR Coordinator, as much as possible until baby #5 is born in November.  Crissy Hartl has offered to be our Meal Coordinator - please contact her if you would like to receive meals after the birth of your baby.  We have our babysitters scheduled for the rest of the Fall schedule.  (Yay!)  Please let us know of any playdates you would be interested in for our "off" Mondays, and we will get that scheduled.  Please feel free to invite your Mommy friends to the group!

See you on the 30th!

St. Stephen of Hungary

Almighty Father,
grant that St. Stephen of Hungary,
who fostered the growth of your Church on earth,
may continue to be our powerful helper in heaven.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

'See the beauty of the daughter of Jerusalem, who ascended to heaven like the rising sun at dawn.'

                                                   -- Benedictus antiphon from Daily Office

"By contemplating Mary in heavenly glory, we understand that the earth is not the definitive homeland for us either, and that if we live with our gaze fixed on eternal goods we will one day share in this same glory and the earth will become more beautiful. Consequently, we must not lose our serenity and peace even amid the thousands of daily difficulties. The luminous sign of Our Lady taken up into Heaven shines out even more brightly when sad shadows of suffering and violence seem to loom on the horizon.

"We may be sure of it: from on high, Mary follows our footsteps with gentle concern, dispels the gloom in moments of darkness and distress, reassures us with her motherly hand. Supported by awareness of this, let us continue confidently on our path of Christian commitment wherever Providence may lead us. Let us forge ahead in our lives under Mary's guidance".

— Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience at Castel Gandolfo Aug. 16, 2006.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

St. Maximillian Kolbe

Dear Christ,
Saint Maximillian was imprisoned in Auschwitz where he ministered to the captives and celebrated Mass by consecrating bread and wine that had been smuggled in.  He was matyred after he voluntarily took the place of a young married prisoner condemned to die.  Since he's the patron saint of drug addicts and people in prison, I ask him to intercede for the inmates in our jails.  O, Lord, heal their hearts and protect them from the evil that surrounds them.  I also ask him to pray for the addicts in my family and my friends' families.  O, Lord, set them free from the prison of their addictions. 
Saint Maximillian, pray for us.  Amen.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Open House!

Save the date!

August 16th marks our first meeting of the Fall Semester. 

We will be holding an Open House from 9:30am to 11:30am.  Childcare will be provided. 

Please invite all moms you know, and those that you don't know.  Now is the time to reach out to all moms and invite them to join Joyful Hearts.

This will be a time to share what the group is all about and get to know one another.  We will resume studying Graced and Gifted at our August 30th meeting.

Please bring a breakfast item to share with the group.  Coffee will be provided.

Please check the calendar for all our Fall 2010 meeting dates and times.