Category Archives: Mary

And at the hour of our death

Have you ever thought about the hour of your death? Not just about your death in general, or how long you might live. But exactly when you’ll die?

This is the last chance for Satan to snatch you from the Lord. Unless you’ve prepared yourself by way of the Sacraments, prayer and a lifetime of “spiritual progress,” your final minutes on Earth will be The Enemy’s last chance to get you for Itself for all Eternity.

Worried? There’s a prayer for that!

It’s Mom to the rescue! Doesn’t Mom make everything better? Well, same thing for when you’re about to face the end of your mortal existence.

The venerable and ancient prayer of the Church to the Blessed Mother, said by millions of Catholics daily in the Rosary (totally perhaps a few billion “Hail Mary’s” every day), is the succor for such a worry.

“Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.
Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

Amen.”

See the last six words? “…at the hour of our death.”

Mary will watch over you. But not just you, when you say the “Hail Mary” on the Rosary or just by itsef in moments of need, offer it up also for other people. It does say “pray for us sinners” so you’re not just praying for yourself, but for other people, too. Now, and at the hour of their death.

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"

The Miracle of the Sun at Fatima

Reblogged from Sober Catholic:

On October 13, 1917 the final Marian Apparition at Fatima, Portugal took place.

I know I’m a few weeks late with this, but upon reflection, I decided to push back writing this until today, the Feast of All Hallow’s Eve (a/k/a “Halloween”). I’ll explain at the end.

Seventy thousand people attended the event, which was supposed to have a miracle promised by the Virgin Mary so that all may believe.

Amongst those present were representatives of the Portuguese media, all socialist and all anti-clerical (theophobes who despised the Catholic Church, professed atheism, and who cooperated in what they hoped would be the eventual destruction of the Church in Portugal. The country had undergone a revolution in 1910 which deposed the Catholic monarch and imposed restrictions on the Church.)

Our Lady appeared as promised, but not alone. St. Joseph also appeared, holding the Christ Child.

Oh, yes: the sun also danced in the sky. Witnessed by all those in attendance, and by more hundreds of miles away, the sun whirled about in the sky, terrifying the witnesses.

It also appeared to hurtle towards the Earth, convincing people that the World was ending (and this part of the Apparition is why I decided to take advantage of my posting tardiness and write this today.)

One note on the sun dancing: for anyone who may be skeptical, one evidence that “something” happened lays in the fact that it had been raining heavily all day long, so much so that the ground throughout the area was drenched. Saturated with water, and combined with the foot traffic of 70,000 attendees, it was a horrific muddy mess.

Until the sun dried it. Nearly instantly. According to all those present, after the Apparition was over and the sun returned to its normal state, the ground was hardened as though it had not seen rain for weeks.

And another note for skeptics: this was all duly reported by the anti-clerical media. The reporters had gone there hoping (or rather assuming) that the whole event would be a non-happening; that the seers would be shamed,the Church embarrassed and once and for all the foolish belivers would have their religious superstitions exposed for what they are – nonsense.

But no, they couldn’t deny the event, their skepticism and non-belief didn’t prevent them from witnessing the Miracle of the Sun, nor acknowledging the effects on the physical environment.

So much for that.

Now, as to why I “reframed the situation” and took advantage of my lateness in posting this.

As the sun plunged to the Earth the believers were understandably freaked out. They thought the world was ending.

The liturgical calendar for the Catholic Church has tomorrow as the Solemnity of All Saints, and after that the Memorial of All Souls. All Saints is for all those in Heaven, officially canonized by the Church or not; and All Souls is for the Faithful Departed who are undergoing purification in Purgatory.

These two days are there (amongst other reasons) to remind us of our ultimate end. Someday we will all die. There is no escaping that.

Maybe this is something for you to consider, before God decides to hurl the Sun at you.

Note: I have been writing on the Marian Apparitions at Fatima, Portugal over on the Sober Catholic blog. See the link above for access to all the posts. (Basically, see the “Fatima” Category of posts on Sober Catholic.)

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"

The Rosary for the Suffering Souls in Purgatory: Agony in the Garden

The meditation of the First Decade of the Rosary, in honor of the Suffering Souls in Purgatory, The Agony in the Garden (For on how to say the Rosary, please scroll down to the bottom.):

A person has died. The soul stands before God and has been judged. It is found wanting, unfit for entry into Heaven, but has not committed offenses against the Lord which condemn it for all eternity.

It joins other souls who have have entered into a “Garden of Gethsemane” within the afterlife. They begin their suffering in Purgatory, but their wills are still too connected to earthly desires. They are fearful of the journey ahead, and it is long and painful as they are separated from God because of their attachment to the World.

They desire God and His will, but their fear hinders their progress towards Him. They resist the journey and wish that it needn’t be made. Agony permeates their being. It is like a fire that burn through to the core of their selves. They try and pray to relieve their suffering, but cannot. Any wish or desire directed to themselves is impossible, their selfish desires were left back on Earth and any self will here in this burning Garden is for nought.

But their love for God spurs them on. Painful as it is, their desire for the Lord begins to burn away the stains of their earthly sins on their souls. The spiritual rags they wear, clothes not fit for the wedding feast of the Lamb, begin to loosen.

They discover that while they cannot pray or desire anything for themselves, they can do so for others. Herein lies their knowledge that their existence now reaches out to God, and to people left behind in the World.

They begin to pray for others, those still on Earth. In this charity, they grow closer to the Lord. Their journey forward continues.

How to Pray the Rosary

(Via Rosary Center.)

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"

St. Michael’s Lent

Earlier this month on Sober Catholic I wrote about “Second Chance Lent”, another period of penance and conversion not widely advertised in the Church but present nonetheless. After that post, I was introduced to yet another “Lenten” season by Michael Franzwa, of SFO Saint Francis Of Assisi Fraternity. He told me on Google+ that:

“Saint Francis of Assisi observed an annual ‘Lent of Saint Michael’, from the Feast of the Assumption of Mary (Aug. 15) to the Feast of Saint Michael The Archangel(September 29).
Francis had a special rapport with Mary and Michael from the early days of his conversion. He went to them often, for comfort and consolation, when things got rough. It was on one of these 40 day solitary retreats when, through meditating on the Passion of our Lord, Francis received the sacred stigmata, imprints of Jesus’ five wounds on his body.”

Tomorrow (August 15th) marks the Feast of Mary’s Assumption, and thus the beginning of this devotion.

The Our Lady of the Pearl Secular Franciscan Fraternity points out this:

“In the writings of St. Francis, such as the Volterra text (Letter to All the Faithful) which is included in The Rule of the SFO, we are reminded again and again that Franciscans are called to be penitents, to pray and fast. For these reasons this ancient tradition is important to us. St. Michael’s Lent is a period of 40 days, honoring Mary and St. Michael the Archangel. It begins on the Feast of the Assumption and ends on The Feast of the Archangels.

“[H]e wished along with the most faithful Brothers . . . to celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (August 15) and then prepare himself by a forty days’ fast for the Feast of St. Michael (September 29). In common with the rest of the people of the Middle Ages, Francis nourished a special devotion to this Archangel, signifer santus Michaelis, the standard-bearer of the Heavenly Host, and the one who with his trumpet was to wake the dead in their graves on the last day . . . .” (St. Francis of Assisi by Jorgensen)”

(Via Our Lady of the Pearl.)

And so we are made mindful of the facts of our own resurrection on the Last Day and also of our subsequent Judgment. No sense in waiting until then to worry about it. If you haven’t started some “Second Chance” Lenten period of reflection and penance, you have another opportunity to do so beginning tomorrow!

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"

Where was Mary assumed to?

Today is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a Dogma of the Catholic Church that when Mary “died” she was taken up into Heaven, body and soul, due to her preservation from Original Sin and therefore not suffering the corruption of death. This is connected to the Dogma of her Immaculate Conception, which says that based on the anticipated merits of Jesus’ suffering and death, she did not inherit Original Sin, like everyone else.

These are required beliefs for Catholics and if you find them hard to take just consider meditating on them as ways of spiritual progression. Even if it takes the rest of your life, which would most likely be the case.

There is an excellent article entitled: Where was Mary assumed to? via New Theological Movement that offers up an interesting take on where exactly is Heaven? Read it and ponder!

The discovery of this article (I found it on Spirit Daily) also gives me the excuse to start the occasional and irregular series of posts on Catholic and Scriptural metaphysics. Wow.

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"

Now and at the hour of our death, amen

Today, August 22nd, is the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. It is the day Catholics celebrate her coronation as Queen of Heaven.

The Hail Mary has the line:

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. .

We are all sinners, and Christianity teaches that this is so. Yet we do have a powerful intercessor with God for us.

That intercessor is Mary.

She can intercede for us at anytime, like any good mother will for her children. All we have to do is ask and the Hail Mary is that prayer.

The time of our death is never known to us, it can occur anytime. Only God knows when it will happen. Cultivating a good relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary is an excellent method of insuring your salvation. The “hour of our death” is a particularly important time of battle, as that is Satan’s final chance to claim our soul for eternity. The Adversary will pull out all the stops in that final hour, if it feels there is an opportunity to win.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you,

Blessed are you amongst women,

and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

Amen

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"

Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

The Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is a devotional article worn by Catholics. Back in the day Catholic schoolchildren were enrolled in the Confraternity (i.e. fraternal organization) of the scapular when they attended Catholic schools or otherwise done so in their parish.

Further detailed information on the scapular can be found at this site of the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel .

Why am I writing about this? One of the promises of Our Lady is that they who die wearing the scapular will not suffer eternal damnation. This sort of thing can get certain types in an uproar, as it can seem to some to be a license to sin (because I won’t go to Hell anyway, so why not?) It may also be likened to the heresy of “once saved, always saved.”

But I think not. If you wear your scapular, it is rather conspicuous. Not like the crosses that people wear, seemingly mostly for decoration than conviction, to wear the scapular is more a public witness. It is cloth. It peeks out from the shirt your wearing. Not a lot of people wear it. It isn’t fashionable. It hangs down the front as well as the back. It is sometimes annoying and inconvenient. It is also distinctly Catholic, assuming you’ve ever seen one being worn.

As a result of all these points, to wear the scapular is a conscious effort, a distinct from wearing the cross (kind of sad, actually. More of a commentary on the devaluing of the cross’ meaning.) Anyone wears the cross, few wear the scapular.

So, instead of being a guarantee of eternal salvation, it is a guarantee that you will not go to Hell. So, what’s the difference? Purgatory is the difference. It is a visible reminder to the wearer that they are still accountable for their sins, and will still suffer for them.

Not a bad idea, a constant reminder of mortality and the resulting effects of the decisions of one’s life.

“Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return,” the priest says this or something close when he spreads ashes on your forehead on Ash Wednesday.

So, you might not go to Hell, but you might spend much time in Purgatory. Makes you want to start your Purgatory now, rather than later. At least now you can merit from accepting the suffering that enters your life, and possibly start amending it.

(Author’s note: although this post has a postdate of July 16th – the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – , it was actually written in August.)

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"