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"

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"

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"

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"

Loved ones greet us when we go Home

Spirit Daily has an excellent and comforting article on death, and that perhaps it is something to look forward to, at least not fear: RELATIVES ARE THERE WHEN WE DIE

The notion that we are greeted by loved ones after we die and enter into eternity (assuming Heaven is the destination) is not new to me, it is the subject of numerous prayers and devotions to the dead and dying. But the article relates these stories from a “Near Death Experience” perspective, and therefore lend some testimonial evidence as screened by a researcher.

Read it and get hope!

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"

A symbol of Purgatory

A few days ago I began a vacation from my job. However, on my first “official” day of vacation, I was still required to attend a mandatory monthly meeting. No big deal, I have to get up early and tolerate a meeting before the joy of my vacation could begin. But my vacation would still begin. Then the thought hit me: “This would be like going through Purgatory before entering the fullness of Heaven.” When in Purgatory, the suffering soul knows it is saved, but cannot be fully united with God in Heaven. Too much of the self, and a clinging to worldly desires keep it from entering Heaven.

I tend to think quite often in symbolic or metaphoric terms. I like to connect concrete things to the spiritual. It helps me to better conceptualize the unseeable.

So, my vacation is like Heaven, and having to put up with a momentary passage through a meeting is like a Purgatory. I desire Heaven and don’t want to have to pass through Purgatory, but due to circumstances of my life, I have to be delayed before arriving at my ultimate goal.

“Vacation” is a nice metaphor for Heaven, particularly the idea of an Endless Vacation, (an “Endless Summer”) at an Infinity-starred resort paid for by the resort owner. The only actual cost to you is to get rid of unnecessary baggage. You can’t show up at this resort covered in stains and wearing shabby clothing, the stuff you bore from where you came. At this resort you have to wear the resplendent garb of the permanent guests. The old stuff, the garments of the old country, has to be tossed out and burnt.

Only then can you enter.

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"