Category Archives: Prayer

From sudden and unprovided death, deliver us, O Lord

I learned today that an online friend died when she was hit by a truck while crossing a street. She passed away later at the hospital. She received Last Rites before she died.

The suddenness of any death typically provokes a reaction of shock and dismay. Someone is there, and then suddenly gone. The quickness is a reminder that we, too, can suddenly be “called home.” We know not the day nor the hour of our passing. We must always be prepared as if today will be our last. But who really does this?

The suddenness of someone’s death also provokes another reaction: that of a desire to quickly think about the living and how we never really appreciate them while they are still with us. I suppose that this is essentially taking people for granted, but I also think that it is a symptom that we do not have death always in mind. It is always a distant, abstract thing. We know it will happen, we prefer not to think about it.

So, death is a distant thing from our minds and the permanence of people in our lives is assumed.

I think if we reverse this on both notions then culture and civilization will be far more peaceful and compassionate.

Incidentally, the lady who died was in recovery, she had purchased both of my Catholic devotional books and enjoyed them, bringing them frequently to Adoration to meditate with. So, her death was a little sensitive for me. I am truly saddened by her loss.

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"

To dwell in the Lord’s house all the days of my life

The Second Reading from the Office of Readings for Sunday in the 29th week of Ordinary Time of the Liturgy of the Hours is “From a letter to Proba by Saint Augustine, bishop:”

Why in our fear of not praying as we should, do we turn to so many things, to find what we should pray for? Why do we not say instead, in the words of the psalm: I have asked one thing from the Lord, this is what I will seek: to dwell in the Lord’s house all the days of my life, to see the graciousness of the Lord, and to visit his temple? There, the days do not come and go in succession, and the beginning of one day does not mean the end of another; all days are one, simultaneously and without end, and the life lived out in these days has itself no end.

Courtesy: DivineOffice.org

Indeed, why do we pray for so many things when Heaven fulfills all our desires?

From the Gospel According to Matthew:

Matthew 6:33 “Therefore, seek first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added to you as well.”

Courtesy: The Sacred Bible: Catholic Public Domain Version

From God come all things; we seek Heaven above them all. If we seek with all our desire to live in the Lord’s house all the days of our life, and place that above all other things, how can He not give us what we need?

It is such an earnest prayer. It is a prayer in which we desire to come Home most of all, away from this life’s troubles.

Just remember, there’s a difference between praying for what we want and praying for what we need.

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"

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"

St. Faustina’s Vision of Purgatory, Part 2

In Paragraph 21 of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska’s diary: “Divine Mercy in My Soul,” the Saint writes of when she was visited by a suffering soul :

21 …My superiors [probably Mother Leonard and Mother
Jane] sent me to the novitiate in Cracow. An inconceivable joy reigned in my soul. When
we arrived at the novitiate, Sister [Henry] was dying. A few days later she came to me
[in spirit, after her death] and bid me to go to the Mother Directress of Novices [Sister
Margaret] and tell her to ask her confessor, Father Rospond, to offer one Mass for
her and three ejaculatory prayers. At first I agreed, but the next day I decided I would not
go to Mother Directress, because I was not sure whether this had happened in a dream or in
reality. And so I did not go.

The following night the same thing was repeated more clearly; I had no more doubt. Still,
in the morning I decided not to tell the Directress about it unless I saw her [Sister Henry]
during the day. At once I ran into her in the corridor. She reproached me for not having
gone immediately, and a great uneasiness filled my soul. So I went immediately to Mother
Directress and told her everything that had happened to me. Mother responded that she
would take care of the matter. At once peace reigned in my soul, and on the third day this
sister came to me and said, “May God repay you.”

This serves as a useful reminder to always pray for the faithful departed, regardless of your thoughts as to the reasons. Never “rationalize” away a reason to pray. Yes, they might be in Heaven already, or the inspiration may be a strange thought. Prays for the dead are always a great act of charity.

For more information on St. Faustina, click here:

The Divine Mercy Message from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception

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"

Mother’s Day and Polkas

I noticed on my Facebook that there are a few people who are who are experiencing their first Mother’s Day without their Mom. Prayers ascending for them…

On my first Mother’s Day without mine, I did an odd thing. When I was growing up, Mom played polka music every Sunday before Mass. I lived in central New York State, and there were a number of ethnic radio programs from the various Syracuse, Utica and Rome stations. With a relatively large Polish-American populatiion, there were a few hours of polka programming each Sunday.

Mom used to wake me up to that way. Like clockwork, every Sunday at 8:30AM I’d be contentedly sleeping in my bed, and then WHAMMO!!!!, flung a few feet in the air to the riotous sounds of “In Heaven There is No Beer, That’s Why We Drink it Here,”  “Roll Out the Barrel,”  “I Don’t Want Her You Can Have Her, She’s too Fat for Me,” and various other classic polka tuneskis.

Needless to say I grew to dislike polka music. Until 2006, my first Mother’s Day without Mom. I felt compelled to hunt down a radio station that played polka music. As I now live in the Buffalo, New York area, with a larger Polish-American population than central New York has, it wasn’t hard.

And so on that Mother’s Day, I listened to polka music for the first time in over a quarter century. And…

…I liked it! It was nostalgic for me and also therapuetic. The healing process that I needed after her death in November 2005 was really helped along.

Polka music is routinely derided and dismissed by people. But, screw ’em. It is toe-tappin’ “happy music.” A great cure for depression. So, it all sounds the same. So does rap and  pop.

I think I’ll go to the living room, turn on the stereo, and blast a local polka station. My wife is still sleeping, so it might wake her up! I’m sure she’ll appreciate the old family tradition. 😉

Later…

 

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"

Litany For A Good Death

There is a prayer that you should add to your inventory of prayers to say. This one is courtesy of Joseph Karl Publishing’s Blog and is entitled Litany For A Good 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"

Withdraw to a deserted place

Matthew 14:13: When Jesus heard of it (the death of John the Baptist), he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.

(Via USCCB.)

In this excerpt from the Gospel Reading from today’s Mass (18th Sunday in Ordinary Time) Jesus was saddened by the death of John the Baptist. the Son of God felt the loss of His cousin and grieved. He needed to withdraw, be alone and more than likely spent the time in prayer and meditation.

The fact that Jesus needed to grieve over His loss is a hope to those of us who have lost loved ones to the separation of death. We are not alone, in what can be the loneliest of times for those who continue on.

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"

Things said at Funerals

From Matthew Archbold who blogs at the Creative Minority Report comes this reminder on the state of modern Catholic funerals:

Please Say This at My Funeral

He makes an excellent point. Perhaps the subject of what Mr. Archbold writes about is a sign of either political correctness or misplaced sensitivity, but it is also what I’ve witnessed.

There is no reason to assume that the deceased is already in Heaven. While that may be comforting to us, it may also be cruel to the deceased if they are in Purgatory, being there as a result of being insufficiently detached from Earthly desires and pleasures at the time of death. We as a culture dislike talking about sin, as if that makes us “judgmental” about other people’s behavior. We seek to avoid offending them. And in doing so behavior stands uncorrected and people perhaps wind up paying for it in the afterlife.

I have little idea what was said or done at funerals before, say, 1970. I do know that priests wore black vestments. Perhaps they focused less on Jesus’ Resurrection than is common today and more on the suffering and death of Jesus. I would imagine that Purgatory was referred to in a respectful and prayerful manner, so as to provide an awareness to the living about the reality of it, and some comfort to the loved ones of the deceased that people would be praying for their soul. I don’t know.

I echo Mr. Archbold’s request. At my funeral, I want the priest to wear black, and go on and on about Purgatory. Maybe the funeral home can have selected The Four Last Things blogposts printed out and stapled to my Holy Cards.

But don’t assume I’m 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"

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"

The pain of waiting for Heaven

Our true home is Heaven. Our life on Earth is an exile, the time we spend here prepares us for our arrival home. If we misuse this time to an extreme (consistently rejecting the will of God and working against Him) we will banish ourselves and be eternally damned. Damnation is the natural consequence of our poor moral choices on Earth.

However, even if we exercise right judgement, we may still be denied entry into the fullness of Heaven and perfect union with God for a time. This time is referred to as Purgatory. Those who die in a state of grace but yet still retain the stain of sin on their souls need to be purified. The unclean cannot enter into the vision of God in this state. See: Catechism of the Catholic Church – Purgatory

(Via Vatican.)

We can begin our purgatory here on Earth. A longing for our true home and the pain of separation from it is a purifying experience. This longing is a prayer.

The blog The New Theological Movement has a great post entitled “Prayer, purgatory on earth”. It explores the idea that through a prayerful longing for Heaven, we can offer up this suffering for the expiation of our sins and for the Church Suffering.

This prayerful longing for Heaven is a detachment from our exile, and therefore a little death. Gradually we are better prepared for our own death and no longer fear it.

Personally, I feel this longing. Daily I pray for this “going home,” and not in any worrying suicidal way, but just like anyone who wishes to be home, I would rather be there than here.

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"