Category Archives: Passage

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"

Death sucks.

Death sucks.

Someone, be they a human person or an animal person, is in your life for years, then they’re not. And it’s not like they moved to some far off strange place like California, where you can still email, Skype or Facebook with them. The distance they travelled is measured not in miles or kilometers. But in time.

It’s a wide chasm. We may take a few more years or decades to get to the point where we can cross it. That is a part of the chasm separating those on the other side from us. But forgetting the amount of time between now and when we die, that chasm is just huge. They’re in eternity. We’re not.

But there’s a hole left behind. That space in your life that they filled is now empty. They are no longer there. That space can’t be filled by anyone else.

This post was caused by the death of our cat, “Mr. Onyx,” whom I nicknamed “SpeedBump.” He died this morning. He’s the black kitteh in the picture. The cutie on the right is his girlfriend, Jerrie. Nice headshot of him is right after.

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I nicknamed Mr. Onyx, “SpeedBump,” after his penchant for laying right between wherever anyone was sitting and wherever a doorway is, as well as slowly walking down the hallway before you.

We don’t know how old he was as we didn’t get him as a kitten. His previous human died from cancer and untreated alcoholism and we took him in as no one else could.

He lived with my wife and I for almost exactly 6 years.

He is survived by two other kittehs, Jerrie and Ninja.

He had an amazing impact on our lives, bringing much joy, love and FUN into them.

We will bury him in a Mary Garden, next to our house, and we’ll plant stuff around him that would attract the birds and bunnies he so loved to watch from the patio window.

Where are our beloved pets, after their death? That is for another post. But Mr. Onyx’s death is really hitting me. The death of a pet in not inconsequential.

Pets matter.

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 soul longs and faints for the courts of the Lord

In this blog I occasionally wax longingly to “go Home,” that is, to be in Heaven with the Lord, the Saints and my loved ones who have gone on before me. I usually write the disclaimer that my desire isn’t suicidal nor any type of morbidity. It is just the natural longing of one for their true Home. For this Earth is but our exile.

Death is just a passage leading us to our Home.

The following Psalm describes for me this longing:

Psalm 83 (84):

{83:1} Unto the end. For the wine and oil presses. A Psalm to the sons of Korah.

{83:2} How beloved are your tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!

{83:3} My soul longs and faints for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have exulted in the living God.

{83:4} For even the sparrow has found a home for himself, and the turtle-dove a nest for herself, where she may lay her young: your altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God.

{83:5} Blessed are those who dwell in your house, O Lord. They will praise you from age to age.

{83:6} Blessed is the man whose help is from you. In his heart, he is disposed to ascend


{83:7} from the valley of tears, from the place which he has determined.

{83:8} For even the lawgiver will provide a blessing; they will go from virtue to virtue. The God of gods will be seen in Zion.

{83:9} O Lord, God of hosts, hear my prayer. Pay attention, O God of Jacob.

{83:10} O God, gaze upon our protector, and look upon the face of your Christ.

{83:11} For one day in your courts is better than thousands elsewhere. I have chosen to be lowly in the house of my God, rather than to dwell in the tabernacles of sinners.

{83:12} For God loves mercy and truth. The Lord will give grace and glory.

{83:13} He will not withhold good things from those who walk in innocence. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man who hopes in you.

Source: Sacred Bible: Catholic Public Domain Version

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: Dying on the Cross

The meditation of the Fifth Decade of the Rosary, in honor of the Suffering Souls in Purgatory, Dying on the Cross (For on how to say the Rosary, please scroll down to the bottom.)

The soul nears the end of its journey. It faces its final purging, that of finally and completely casting off all vestiges and traces of its attachment to Earthly things.

This is the soul’s final “dying” unto itself. It refused the opportunities to do so on Earth. All the times when Jesus might have increased within the life of the soul went for nothing. It was afraid of surrendering itself on Earth to God, fearful perhaps because of the perception that it will “lose” itself, its autonomy, its independence.

That was the World speaking, falsely misrepresenting its own allures to the soul.

But the soul, now having been purged within the cleansing fires of Purgatory of nearly all things Earthly, can finally achieve it desired end: annihilation of its Earthly attachments and springing into the arms of the Lord, forever united with Him and all its loved ones that have preceded it.

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"

The Rosary for the Suffering Souls in Purgatory: Carrying the Cross

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

Perhaps the biggest pains reserved for the suffering souls would be for the times they refused to carry their cross while on Earth. For those born into the discipleship of Christ (those born Christian and those who eventually converted to Christianity) the need to accept and carry the cross of Christ was a mark of that discipleship.

Many were called, but few accepted. Lured by the trappings of the World, with its false promises of joy and happiness, these souls opted for a comfortable Christianity.

“Go to Mass or worship services once a week, and all is good.”

Well, no. Life is not one of comfort. While at time we are rewarded with goodness and peace, overall life on Earth is an exile from our true home. And so it is filled with an emptiness, a kind of suffering that the souls seeks to satisfy with the false promises of the World. Fame, money, power, carnality, acceptance and other such vanities that pass.

And so now they realize what their intended mission was, and they are paying the price for it.

Now they suffer in place of what they could have done on Earth. Here, in the fires of Purgatory they suffer the pains of the cross.

Heaven is delayed, when it could have been attained already.

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"

The Rosary for the Suffering Souls in Purgatory: Crowning with Thorns

The meditation of the Third Decade of the Rosary, in honor of the Suffering Souls in Purgatory, The Crowning with Thorns (For on how to say the Rosary, please scroll down to the bottom.):

Their journey continues. The souls move ever closer to their ultimate goal, complete union with God for all eternity. But still their progress forward is slowed.

Their thoughts while on Earth did not give due attention to God’s will. Their thoughts were oftentimes consumed with worries, anxieties and fears of Earthly trials. Rather than rest in comfort in the Lord’s arms, certain that Divine Providence will come to eventual fruition, they avoided this reliance. They turned their thoughts to Earthly solutions, to attempts of their own to solve the problems. Or, not even this, their thoughts dwelt upon silly and frivolous things. Too often they were concerned with the ordinary day-to-day events, and rarely turned their thoughts to things from above.

“Plenty of time to think about death and what happens after,” their souls thought upon Earth, “do not bother me with frightening things like Hell. Leave me alone.”

And so now this Earthly focus hinders their union. And like they underwent a spiritual scourging at a pillar, they now bear a spiritual crown of thorns. In this manner they atone for their sins of thought, for all of those times on Earth they did not give proper attention to God and His will.

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"

The Rosary for the Suffering Souls in Purgatory: Scourging at the Pillar

The meditation of the Second Decade of the Rosary, in honor of the Suffering Souls in Purgatory, The Scourging at the Pillar (For on how to say the Rosary, please scroll down to the bottom.):

The soul’s progress continues onward, closer to the Lord. It can see God afar off, but the vision is obscured by the smoke and flames of purgation that rage here: about them, among them, within them. Countless souls exist in this place, all possessing a burning desire to unite with the Lord. But shame that they did not pursue Him while on Earth piles agony onto their suffering.

In their pain they cry out for union. They are held back. Knowledge of their physical attachments to worldly pleasures sear their thoughts. Sexual improprieties and follies while on Earth demand purging. The sacred gift from God meant for human unity and cooperation in creation had been perverted. From lust to fornication and other abuses of this gift, these souls now seek a scourging of their worldly desires.

And so they attach themselves to a spiritual pillar. Nothing physical exists here in this place of torment, but in a manner of kind they undergo a scourging at a pillar. The sins of their Earthly flesh are flayed from their souls, they scream in agony.

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"

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"

Are You Prepared to Die?

As I said in my first ever blogpost here on The Four Last Things you will die.

An article from last year (that for some reason I didn’t blog about then) asks us this: Are You Prepared to Die?

(Via Archdiocese of Washington Blog.)

Well, are you? The reality of death is something many people avoid until it confronts them full on. And even then, some people attempt to shun it.

The inconvenient truth is that we are better prepared to face death when we do not wait to prepare ourselves for it when we are facing it.

The article gives some sobering consideration on preparing for 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"

Find A Grave

I discovered through a conversation on Facebook an interesting site called: Find A Grave. Millions of cemetery records and photos of gravesites (tombstones) are listed there. There is also a search function where you can locate specific records.

I already found someone who’s grave I had searched for a few years ago. An old and dear friend of my family. My parents tended his grave for several years after his death in 1980, and the last time I was ever there was with my Mom in 1996. After she died in 2005, I went on a major nostalgia/sentimental binge and tried to locate his grave. I couldn’t. I went to every cemetery in the immediate vicinity of my old hometown, looking at a photo of my Dad kneeling at the grave, trying to match that image with the landscape. Nope. I don’t know how I forgot, but he was buried in a cemetery a few miles south of town. I found him! 🙂

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"