Category Archives: Communion of Saints

Transitus of St. Francis of Assisi

Today is October 3rd and that is the vigil of the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. For Franciscans worldwide, tonight is the “Transitus,”or the ritual observance of his death.

I won’t go into details as to what transpires during the ritual, as I am not a Franciscan and thus have never participated. However, I will blog briefly on the event as it is significant for this blog in some ways.

I read up on the Transitus and various Franciscan sites and blogs variously describe the ritual observance as important as it connects Franciscans with each other – those living today and those who have gone before. That this great community is united by the observance of the death of their Order’s Founder is a wonderful lesson. It is something that can be incorporated in our lives.

“Memento Mori.” “Be mindful of your death.” In memorializing the anniversaries of when our loved ones died, we remember them as they were if their death was lingering due to age or infirmity; but we can also remember them as they had been when still vital and younger. If they died suddenly, it can be a way to “manipulate time,” they were suddenly taken from us but in or memorial observance we can “be there” in some spiritual fashion. If they died too young, well, perhaps it can be a manner in which they are brought forward in life along with us.

Our beloved dead are not forgotten, they are still with us, although in a ritualistic spiritual way. Their death is no longer some event isolated in thr past that might fade a somewhat in memory over the years. Oh, we still remember when Mom or Uncle Jimmy died, but over the years the date slowly becomes just another day in November or July.

Ritual is important. It helps organize life and mark time. “Ritual” is also the hidden word in spiRITUALity, something lost, I think, in those who eschew religion in favor of only spirituality.

As I write this, the feeling is growing within me to actually think about doing this somehow for some of my beloved dead. One way is on the Anniversary of a death is to say the “Office of the Dead” from the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours. Here is an online source: Office of the Dead.

Perhaps I’ll think of some thing to do in addition. Maybe whoever reads this can offer suggestions in the comments.

(I may reblog this in an edited form on SoberCatholic.com.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today my Mom would have been 97. She passed away in November 2005.

As usual, it is a day of melancholy for me. I miss her, but I also am grateful that my Catholic faith tells me that our relationship isn’t dead, just because she is gone from the word. I believe that she is in Heaven. Perhaps she is in Purgatory, but I feel she passed through quickly, as much as the passage of time has any meaning there. As a result, I feel as if I can still connect with her through prayer and the Mass. And I long for the day when we can be reunited. (My usual disclaimer, not being morbid or suicidal, I just long for the day when I can go Home.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Solemnity of All Saints

In his Angelus message for today, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on, quote: “the liturgical feast, and how it draws our earthly gaze toward Heaven. He spoke of how the Saints, those we are familiar with and those known only to God, are where heaven and earth meet because formed and opened by the spirit of Christ already here on earth, encountered in the communion of his Mystical Body, the Church.”

The Saints, where heaven and earth meet

(Via Vatican Radio.)

Today is an special solemnity in the Church’s liturgical calendar. It is the day we celebrate all those in the Church Triumphant, all of those in Heaven, whether formally canonized or known only to God. This is why I called it “special,” because it is one that can be very personal in that it is the feast day of all of our loved ones who have gone on before us, whom we hope are resting in the Beatific Vision of eternity.

It is a day of great healing and hope for me, as I yearn to some day be united with my loved ones, in that place where there is no loss, sorrow, pain or parting.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Beatification of Pope John Paul II Online Schedules

(Reposted from Sober Catholic)

Pope John Paul 2 will be beatified in ceremonies at the Vatican this Sunday, May 1, 2011. Here is a listing of fairly comprehensive English language programming covering the event, and these are links to online schedules as well as live, online streaming of the ceremonies if you wish to view it on you computer:

First off is EWTN, a major American global Catholic TV and radio network:

EWTN coverage: “Beatification of Pope John Paul II Coverage with EWTN Catholic Television Network”

(Via EWTN.)

Next is “CatholicTV”, not to be confused with “RealCatholicTV”:

CatholicTV: “Online Schedule of Papal Programming”

(Via CatholicTV.)

The Canadian “Salt and Light TV” offers their programming here:

Salt + Light Television: “John Paul II Beatification”

Their live stream is here:

Streaming LIVE | Salt + Light Television

(Via Salt + Light TV.)

“Pope2you” is a Vatican service in the new social media age:

Pope2you: “Pope John Paul II – The Beatification”

(Via Pope2You.)

“Xt3” is a Catholic social network founded after the Sydney World Youth Day. Although they are focused on WYDs, they are a comprehensive social network:

Xt3: “Beatification: Live webcast”, and the stream is found here: John Paul II: “webcast”

(Via Xt3.)

And finally, and certainly not the least of these, here is the Home Office’s offerings:

Vatican Radio – Vatican Radio CTV, : “Bringing Rome to your home for JPII beatification”

The stream is found here (I think) Vatican Player

(Via Radio Vatican.)

The above links are not presented in any particular order of importance. If you find any link to be wrong or broken, etc, please email me or comment. All comments are moderated but I hope to get to them as quickly as I can.

Pope John Paul 2 was very important to me. He was the Pope during my departure from the Church, thus proving how stupid and prideful I can be, and he was reigning when I returned. His papacy was instrumental in my reversion and re-formation of my faith.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Blessed are they who mourn

An excerpt from the Gospel for today Mass on the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time has comforting words for those suffering the loss of a loved one:

Matthew 5:4:”Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

We are reminded in Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians:

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14: “We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”

(Via USCCB.)

We who have lost loved ones to death are to not be sorrowful like those who have no hope in the afterlife. We shall be comforted, either by our hopeful reunion with them in Heaven, our by our realization that they are not really separated from us forever. They are still a part of our lives, for death only separates them from us by time. Time passes, and just as those who have gone on before us have travelled through the passage of death into the afterlife, we shall hopefully follow.

We yearn for them. We miss them. We long to be with them. Let this yearning be a way to burn away here on Earth the sinful tendencies of our lives which only increases our separation from them, and from God.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Shutting out the fear of Death

An excerpt from “The treatise of St Cyprian on mortality, ‘Let us shut out the fear of death and meditate upon immortality'” contained in the Office of Readings for Friday, 34th Week of Ordinary Time: has encouraging words for those who long for Heaven: “We ought never to forget, beloved, that we have renounced the world. We are living here now as aliens and only for a time. When the day of our homecoming puts an end to our exile, frees us from the bonds of the world, and restores us to paradise and to a kingdom, we should welcome it. What man, stationed in a foreign land, would not want to return to his own country as soon as possible? Well, we look upon paradise as our country, and a great crowd of our loved ones awaits us there, a countless throng of parents, brothers and children longs for us to join them. Assured though they are of their own salvation, they are still concerned about ours. What joy both for them and for us to see one another and embrace! O the delight of that heavenly kingdom where there is no fear of death! O the supreme and endless bliss of everlasting life!

There, is the glorious band of apostles, there the exultant assembly of prophets, there the innumerable host of martyrs, crowned for their glorious victory in combat and in death. There in triumph are the virgins who subdued their passions by the strength of continence. There the merciful are rewarded, those who fulfilled the demands of justice by providing for the poor. In obedience to the Lord’s command, they turned their earthly patrimony into heavenly treasure. My dear brothers, let all our longing be to join them as soon as we may. May God see our desire, may Christ see this resolve that springs from faith, for he will give the rewards of his love more abundantly to those who have longed for him more fervently.”

(Via Universalis.)

These are excellent words to meditate upon, for we should not have a fear of death. After all, it is just a passage through which we leave our Earthly exile and go home.

If desire for God and holiness can be turned into a prayer, then we can make one out of some of St. Cyprian’s words:

Oh, Heavenly Father, we beseech You with the groanings of our heart the longing we have for our true home with You. May Christ our Mediator see our resolve to finish the journey and “increase our faith.”(Luke 17:5) so that we may enter into your eternal Kingdom and see You and all the Saints in Heaven, together with our loved ones who have gone before us.

We ask you this in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Today would have been Mom's birthday

Today, January 20th, would have been my Mom’s birthday. She would have been 93. She died a few years ago, just shy of her 90th. The fact that she led and lived a full life doesn’t minimize her death. (“Well, Paul, she did live a long time.”)

I miss her. I have the hope of seeing her, and other loved ones, again in Heaven.

I am trying to spiritually develop so that my yearnings for Heaven are proper, that is I desire to get to Heaven to be united with God and not just so that I am reunited with my lost loved ones and God just happens to be there, too. That takes God for granted and that Heaven is just a perpetual playground or wonderful endless happy family reunion with Christmas and Easter dinners and picnics all thrown together.

Yearn for the face of the beloved, and all else will fall into place, as well. Trust in God.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

November!

November is my favorite month. Mainly because of The Feasts of All Saints on November 1st and All Souls on November 2nd.

This leads to November being considered the “month of the dead”. While some may find that rather gruesome and macabre, I do not. I like November and its focus on the dead because of the reminder that what is around us is not the whole story, and that something greater lies beyond our reach. But not forever. We too, shall cross over to what lies beyond, and we should always be mindful of our death.

November and its associations with the dead also help me to connect with my loved ones that have died. They do not seem so far away. My Mom died in November (2005) and her death shattered my life, but out of that wreckage came a new life for me. My Dad died years earlier, and I find that I am becoming more like him. There are others hopefully in Heaven or Purgatory, and I think about them often.

Anyway, November shall be a “Big Deal” here at this blog, and probably the most active month. The rest of the year has rather sporadic postings (which may change, we’ll see) but in November I plan to focus on this blog a lot more than usual. You may want to make it an annual “devotional”, as in “Oh, it’s November, I gotta surf over to Paulcoholic’s “death blog.” Plenty enough time to get caught up on postings from the rest of the year, if posting frequency doesn’t change much.

So, have a Good November, everyone. (May that salutation be likened to a wish for a happy death. (A “Happy Death” in Catholicism is a death in which you end up in Heaven.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

September 5, 1995. My father died.

On this date in 1995 my father died.

He and I weren’t very close, (“fathers and sons …”) generational and attitudinal differences separated us.

As a result, I didn’t really grieve over his death. I mean, I was saddened and did feel the loss, but I wasn’t ripped apart by his death like I was over my Mom’s 10 years later.

This relative lack of impact was aided by the fact that I was 2,500 miles away and hadn’t seen him in 4 years.

I went home for his funeral, and reconnected with the family, but when I returned home to California I continued life as usual. I had started drinking heavily to cope with life’s problems a year before (failed romance) and my drinking picked up a little more upon my return, so that may have softened the need to grieve in a sober manner.

The point of this is that although I wasn’t too close to Dad during his life, I am much closer to him now. That would seem strange to non-Catholics, but for believers with a knowledge of the Communion of Saints, that shouldn’t seem strange at all.

Death doesn’t end a life. Death is just a passage from this life to another. This life is temporary, everything “is”, and then passes away to dust and a dim memory. The life after is eternal. Whether that life is spent in Heaven or Hell depends on what you do in your Earthly life.

There is a connection between those of us still here on Earth and those deceased. It is called, as I referenced in a previous paragraph, the Communion of Saints . (Via New Advent.) This is comprised of the “Church Militant” (those still on Earth), the “Church Suffering” (those in Purgatory) and the “Church Triumphant” (those in Heaven). Only the souls that have damned themselves to Hell are excluded.

“Communion” implies a community, wherein the members still can relate to one another. This relation is conducted by the means of prayer. We pray to the Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering for their intercessory power with God. We can somehow sense their presence (although admittedly that “sensing” may be wishful thinking).

They are there to help, comfort and console us. We are separated from them by the chasm of death, but that chasm can be crossed eventually by our own deathly passage.

I said earlier in this post that I am much closer to Dad now than while he was alive. I have grown to be much like him, at least with regard to the practice of my Catholic Faith. (I still haven’t taken up woodworking as a hobby, nor returned to fishing as a pastime, but may in time. I do enjoy yardwork, like he did, and love baseball, too.) I understand him better as the years progress and as I grow older.

To anyone who has lost a parent (or anyone beloved) to death, fear not. They are not gone from you permanently. Consider them as just having moved far away, and the distance you need to travel to meet with them again will take the rest of your life.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

My Parent's Wedding Anniversary

My parent’s were married on April 15th. The year 1937 to be exact. They were married 58 years when my father passed away in 1995.

I do believe that they are in heaven and have interceded for me on a number of occasions. No proof, just a feeling.

I also believe that relationships do not die with death. This is also Catholic teaching, rooted in Sacred Scripture. We are members of the “Communion of Saints”, that “great cloud of witnesses” that St. Paul wrote about.

Relationships are transformed by death into something else. Perhaps a different type of love that we can only dimly feel, but nurtures us anyway in some fashion that we don’t entirely understand. Jesus taught us this when He died on the Cross. He died, yet remains with us.

Blogger’s note: Although this has a post date of April 15, 2008, it was actually written on June 27, 2008. I don’t recall why I didn’t post on the real date.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"