Tag Archives: Prayer

Join the League of Prayer for Pope Benedict XVI

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

This is a reposting of the original article of Dec. 19, 2019

There are a lot of prayer initiatives around, which are merely human in origin. But when we pray, we should do so out of supernatural motivation and especially when requested by Heaven.

One of the most important prayer initiatives in Catholic History, is the Request that we pray much for the Holy Father. This request comes from no less than the saintly Children at Fatima, who urged us not only to pray very much for sinners, but that we should pray very much for the Holy Father.

This prayer request for the Holy Father comes from Sr. Lucia and from Jacinta, who being shown the grave difficulties in the Church spoke of the need to pray for the Holy Father for 2 reasons:  That he might perform the Consecration to Russia requested by Our Lord; and that he might endure the persecution that he would one day suffer from those all around him.

Regarding the first reason, Sr. Lucia makes this statement in her Memoirs, p. 414:

“‘The Holy Father! Pray very much for the Holy Father! He will do it, but it will be late. Nevertheless, the Immaculate Heart of Mary will save Russia, which has been entrusted to it.'”

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Jacinta’s Two visions

Regarding the second reason, Jacinta calls for prayers for the Holy Father, after seeing TWO of the events which are now taking place in the Church (Source): which Sr Lucia relates her third Memoir:

Also, in her third memoir, she tells us about two incidents in which Jacinta saw visions of a future Pope, and these also relate to the secret.

One day, while they were near the well at Lucia’s home, Jacinta asked her if she had seen the Holy Father. When Lucia replied, “No,” Jacinta said: “I don’t know how it was, but I saw the Holy Father in a very big house, kneeling by a table, with his head buried in his hands, and he was weeping. Outside the house, there were many people. Some of them were throwing stones; others were cursing him and using bad language. Poor Holy Father, we must pray very much for him.”

Sr Lucia then tells us: “At another time, we went to the cave called Lapa do Cabeço. As soon as we got there, we prostrated on the ground, saying the prayers the Angel had taught us. After some time, Jacinta stood up and called to me: ‘Can’t you see all those highways and roads and fields full of people, who are crying with hunger and have nothing to eat? And the Holy Father in a church praying before the Immaculate Heart of Mary? And so many people praying with him?’ Some days later, she asked me: ‘Can I say that I saw the Holy Father and all those people?’ ‘No. Don’t you see that that’s part of the secret? If you do, they’ll find out right away.’ ”

Let us respond!

Many authors believe that this FIRST vision of Jacinta is a prophetic revelation of what Pope Benedict is suffering since February 2013, because at no time in the history of the modern Papacy has a Pope resided in a small house, and been nearly universally derided by those in the Church. The image of a house being pelted with stones by those around it, also seems to imply that the worst enemies of the Holy Father are those in the Vatican which surrounds where he presently lives: in the Monastery of Our Lady Mother of the Church, at the heart of the Vatican Gardens.

The second vision of Jacinta appears to be Heaven’s indication of how to respond to the First vision: namely by JOINING WITH THE HOLY FATHER in prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

Let us be that “so many people” praying with the Holy Father “before the Immaculate Heart of Mary”!

Chose whatever prayers you wish, but PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!

THIS IS THE LEAGUE OF PRAYER for the Holy Father. Spread the word and recruit others to offer:

  1. Daily prayers.
  2. Worthy communions and confessions.
  3. Acts of penance and sacrifices.
  4. Fasting and abstinence.
  5. Alms for the poor.
  6. Recitation of THE MOST HOLY ROSARY.
  7. Acts of Consecration to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, whether personal or in groups, parishes, Dioceses etc.

Versione Italiana: https://www.chiesaromana.info/index.php/2019/12/19/la-lega-di-preghiera-per-papa-benedetto-xvi/ (This version is a deepl.com translation, if you find errors, leave a comment there)

The Following Blogs or Websites have joined

… in this League of Prayer by promoting it with a re-posting of the call to prayer:

(Listed in order of their adhesion, according to time)

Please let us know of your adhesion to this Effort, via comment or ping-back. Thank you!

Join the League of Prayer for Pope Benedict XVI

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

This is a reposting of the original article of Dec. 19, 2019

There are a lot of prayer initiatives around, which are merely human in origin. But when we pray, we should do so out of supernatural motivation and especially when requested by Heaven.

One of the most important prayer initiatives in Catholic History, is the Request that we pray much for the Holy Father. This request comes from no less than the saintly Children at Fatima, who urged us not only to pray very much for sinners, but that we should pray very much for the Holy Father.

This prayer request for the Holy Father comes from Sr. Lucia and from Jacinta, who being shown the grave difficulties in the Church spoke of the need to pray for the Holy Father for 2 reasons:  That he might perform the Consecration to Russia requested by Our Lord; and that he might endure the persecution that he would one day suffer from those all around him.

Regarding the first reason, Sr. Lucia makes this statement in her Memoirs, p. 414:

“‘The Holy Father! Pray very much for the Holy Father! He will do it, but it will be late. Nevertheless, the Immaculate Heart of Mary will save Russia, which has been entrusted to it.'”

EG1srINWwAE_wLu

Jacinta’s Two visions

Regarding the second reason, Jacinta calls for prayers for the Holy Father, after seeing TWO of the events which are now taking place in the Church (Source): which Sr Lucia relates her third Memoir:

Also, in her third memoir, she tells us about two incidents in which Jacinta saw visions of a future Pope, and these also relate to the secret.

One day, while they were near the well at Lucia’s home, Jacinta asked her if she had seen the Holy Father. When Lucia replied, “No,” Jacinta said: “I don’t know how it was, but I saw the Holy Father in a very big house, kneeling by a table, with his head buried in his hands, and he was weeping. Outside the house, there were many people. Some of them were throwing stones; others were cursing him and using bad language. Poor Holy Father, we must pray very much for him.”

Sr Lucia then tells us: “At another time, we went to the cave called Lapa do Cabeço. As soon as we got there, we prostrated on the ground, saying the prayers the Angel had taught us. After some time, Jacinta stood up and called to me: ‘Can’t you see all those highways and roads and fields full of people, who are crying with hunger and have nothing to eat? And the Holy Father in a church praying before the Immaculate Heart of Mary? And so many people praying with him?’ Some days later, she asked me: ‘Can I say that I saw the Holy Father and all those people?’ ‘No. Don’t you see that that’s part of the secret? If you do, they’ll find out right away.’ ”

Let us respond!

Many authors believe that this FIRST vision of Jacinta is a prophetic revelation of what Pope Benedict is suffering since February 2013, because at no time in the history of the modern Papacy has a Pope resided in a small house, and been nearly universally derided by those in the Church. The image of a house being pelted with stones by those around it, also seems to imply that the worst enemies of the Holy Father are those in the Vatican which surrounds where he presently lives: in the Monastery of Our Lady Mother of the Church, at the heart of the Vatican Gardens.

The second vision of Jacinta appears to be Heaven’s indication of how to respond to the First vision: namely by JOINING WITH THE HOLY FATHER in prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

Let us be that “so many people” praying with the Holy Father “before the Immaculate Heart of Mary”!

Chose whatever prayers you wish, but PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!

THIS IS THE LEAGUE OF PRAYER for the Holy Father. Spread the word and recruit others to offer:

  1. Daily prayers.
  2. Worthy communions and confessions.
  3. Acts of penance and sacrifices.
  4. Fasting and abstinence.
  5. Alms for the poor.
  6. Recitation of THE MOST HOLY ROSARY.
  7. Acts of Consecration to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, whether personal or in groups, parishes, Dioceses etc.

Versione Italiana: https://www.chiesaromana.info/index.php/2019/12/19/la-lega-di-preghiera-per-papa-benedetto-xvi/ (This version is a deepl.com translation, if you find errors, leave a comment there)

The Following Blogs or Websites have joined

… in this League of Prayer by promoting it with a re-posting of the call to prayer:

(Listed in order of their adhesion, according to time)

Please let us know of your adhesion to this Effort, via comment or ping-back. Thank you!

How to pray — Part II

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

In the first article in this series I spoke about the material preparations for prayer. In this article, I will speak on the correct manner to say vocal prayers.

Vocal prayer, what is it?

Vocal prayer is prayer which is made through the instrumentality of words. This is the most common prayer. Indeed, most everyone thinks this is the only kind. I will explain why that is not so, in subsequent articles, but for now, let us speak about prayers which are expressed in words.

Vocal prayer can be in any language, whether you understand the language or not. If you do not understand the language, but you use those words to pray, the efficacy of your prayer depends upon your intentions and dispositions alone. Not on whether you pronounce that foreign language correctly or know what it means. It suffices to know its an approved prayer.

What makes a vocal prayer efficacious?

This was the first lesson in prayer which I had as a boy. My mom taught me how to say the Rosary, and suggested I say it every night. I said it for a whole month I think, and then one night my Mom had time to say it with me again. I found that I was saying it all wrong, and being very stupid I gave up saying the Rosary, because I thought my prayers were worthless if I did not do it perfectly and, since I realized I could not understand how to do that, I did not see the point in praying.

Years later, when speaking with my Confessor, he explained to me how wrong that reaction was. He was an old priest of the Missionary Order of the Holy Ghost Fathers, from whence came Archbishop Lebfevre. He explained that God rewards the intention. If we persevere and are humble, it does not matter even if we make mistakes out of ignorance. Because God looks first to the hearts and He rewards humility and zeal.

What does it mean, then, for a prayer to be efficacious?

Hence, it is important to understand that a prayer is efficacious in the sense that the praying of the prayer, not the prayer itself. A prayer written on paper or on your computer screen or cellphone display is simply words. But prayed it becomes a voice raised to God or the Saints.

Praying is efficacious when we pay attention to it. Just like your father it not apt to grant you any special request when you make it while engaged in watching your favorite TV program while he is trying to work at his desk, so your prayers to God require that you put yourself in the proper dispositions and present yourself to God in a manner pleasing to Himself.

I explained this in Part I, as regards Confession and being in the state of grace. But more than that is required for your prayers to be heard by God and for you to obtain the infusion of sanctifying grace and virtue, the grant of actual graces and favors, and the light to know, discern, recognize what you are and are not to do in serving God and fulfilling your duties or caring for those around you.

Pay Attention if you want God to pay attention to you

The most important requirement when you actually begin to pray is that you pay attention. This is overlooked in so many manuals of prayer, that it is astounding. God loves the humble, and humility requires that you pray in such a way as to show that you really mean what you say and you say really what you mean. And this requires attention.

It is very wrong to let vocal or oral prayer, as it is also called, become something which you chant over and over, but do not pay attention to the words, allowing your heart and mind to wander to your vain cares or worries or vain hopes.

Rather, the words you say aloud or silently must be willed by you with your whole heart and mind and spirit. You must not let their recitation be something in the background of your mind, nor something flying overhead like music, listened to, but they must be like the horse you ride and direct pulling the reins this way and that to arrive where you want.

Let me give an example, with the Our Father.

Praying the Our Father with attention, or efficaciously

Begin with the sign of the Cross, if you have not already done so.

Our Father, who art in Heaven….

The Saints urge us when we say these words, to look up to the Heavens. That is why it is so much more inspiring to do this outdoors or in a Church where Heaven is depicted high above, where our yes can focus.

But we should say the words, Our Father, with love and affection and confidence, recognizing that God as Our Father and Creator and Redeemer has truly a great desire that we speak with Him and talk to Him and ask Him for needs.

Hallowed be Thy Name.

Here, when saying these words our hearts should expand and our wills should surge in consent, that God’s Name be always held Holy and that His Dignity and Majesty be revered and respected by all.

Thy Kingdom come!

In this prayer we express our will to be loyal subjects of God’s Kingdom in Heaven and on Earth, and to see that Kingdom defended, grow and spread. We should say this prayer with much more enthusiasm than soccer fans or football fans shout out those words they usually shout urging their team to victory. It is really silly that modern man has more zeal at sporting events for their local team, that Christians have when they say these words.

Thy Will be done!

In this prayer, we submit our wills to God. We should say these words with profound humility and a spirit of sorrow for having failed to do the will of God perfectly, but with a profound penitence that we are now resolved to do that Will. And also with the desire to obtain the grace of God to do it, recognizing that without that grace we are not capable of doing it.

On earth as it is in Heaven.

With these words we should look to the Angels and Saints in Heaven and aspired to serve God as they serve Him. Nothing less. By this prayer we are to reject the imitation of any limited human examples of serving God and aspired to imitate the greatest examples which are the Saints in Heaven. We expressly reject the idolatry of earthly gurus, here.

Give us this day, our Daily Bread.

With these words, we begin the Petitions of the Our Father, that is, the requests. First we ask for all that is necessary for body and soul. Here the words daily bread refer to both, the first under the common metanym for food, bread. The second under the signification of the Most Holy Eucharist. This petition therefore is a Spiritual Communion, and while saying it we should understand that we are asking Lord Jesus Christ to enter our hearts and nourish them.

And forgive us our trespasses.

With these words we make a spiritual confession. And we should say them with a most profound humility and sorrow for our own personal sins, recognizing that they are not simply failings, mistakes, errors or deficiencies, but that they are sins, which we need to confess to God and in confession, when they are mortal.

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

Here, we should forgive all our enemies from our hearts, recognizing that if we want great mercies from God, we need to grant mercy to those around us. Catholics have fallen into the worst habit of never admitting they were wrong or asking forgiveness. This prayer should be a confession that we will now undertake such a life.

And lead us not into temptation.

Here the Greek original and the Latin mean, and put us not to the test. This is because temptatio in Latin means a test. And the good monks of Britain loved Latin so much, they kept the word in English, though not all us are well schooled enough to know its meaning. I do not fault the monks, I fault our modern Church catechetical programs for not teaching us English.

But the prayer when prayed should be a supplication, a humble request, that God avert from us His anger and that we return to His paths, because of our selves we will fail the test, since the proud man is without the grace to stand, but the humble man walks always at the Lord’s side.

But deliver us from evil.

Here the Greek and the Latin say, from the Evil one. That is from the Father of Lies, Satan. But the English expands this, because the prayer not only should be said with the intention of not falling into the power of the Devil through sin, but suffering from the punishments for sin, which are the only true evils in this world. We also pray here to be delivered from the grasp and will of wicked men. And this petition, which is last, is the one most necessary in the present times.

Amen!

This Hebrew word means, Let is be so! It is the assent to all which has been said. And we should never omit it, but say it with firm resolve.

Praying with Attention requires discipline

Praying with attention requires just as much discipline of the mind and heart as standing at attention required of a soldier when he is on parade or subject to review by his Commanding General. We should pray the Our Father with infinitely more care, without obsessing with our failures, but returning to saying the prayer. That is why Saint Francis has us his friars say this prayer 72 times daily. Because he knew that we simple minded men need to practice to get it right and to train ourselves in doing it correctly, but also because the ones we say rightly make up for the ones we say badly.

For these reasons, I included 72 Our Fathers in the Perpetual Supplica because so many of us do not know how to pray, and we need to practice doing it rightly on a daily basis.

But above all, keep in mind the great things you can obtain by prayer

It is important, obviously, to be motivated to pray. Here is a short excerpt from Saint Peter of Alcantara, a great Franciscan Saint, and spiritual director to Saint Teresa of Avila, to motivate you in praying. He is quoting the Franciscan Doctor of the Church, Saint Bonaventure:

“If you would suffer patiently the adversities and miseries of this life, be a man of prayer.  If you would gain power and strength to overcome the temptations of the enemy, be a man of prayer.  If you would mortify your will with all its affections and lusts, be a man of prayer.  If you would understand the cunning devices of Satan, and defend yourself against his deceits, be a man of payer.  If you would live joyfully, and with sweetness walk in the path of penitence and sorrow, be a man of prayer.  If you would drive out the troublesome gnats of vain thoughts and cares from your soul, be a man of prayer.  If you would sustain your soul with the richness of devotion, and kept it ever full of good thoughts and desires, be a man of prayer.  If you would strengthen and confirm your heart in the pilgrimage with God, be a man of prayer.  Lastly, if you would root out from your soul every vice and in their place plant the virtues, be a man of prayer, for in this is obtained the unction and grace of the Holy Spirit who teaches all things.

“And besides all this, if you would climb to the height of contemplation, and delight in the sweet embraces of the Bridegroom, exercise yourself in prayer, for this is the way by which the soul mounts up to contemplation and to the taste of heavenly things.

“You see, then, of how great virtue and power is prayer, and for proof of all that has been said (to say nothing of Holy Scripture) let this now be sufficient assurance that we have seen and heard, and see, day by day, many simple persons who have attained to all these things above mentioned and to others greater, through the exercise of prayer.”

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The Our Father: Remedy against the Church of Darkness

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

In the year of Our Lord, One Thousand, Eight-hundred and twenty, Bl. Anna Katerina Emmerich had a series of visions which spoke of a Church of Darkness and a dark Pope taking over the Church of Rome. As a remedy, Our Lady showed how if the faithful came before Her Basilica of Sainta Maria Maggiore at midnight and prayed with arms outstretched — after the manner of prayer Her Son prayed upon the Cross for the redemption of mankind — that soon the doors would open and the Church of Darkness be driven from the City.

In the details of that vision, there are 2 important facts: That Our Lady measures the minimum time She asks everyone to pray is three Our Fathers; and that the Saint accompanying the Blessed is Saint Francis of Assisi.

Saint Francis was very devoted to the Our Father. He requires the brothers of his Order to say 72 of them each day, in place of the 72 psalms which the clergy in his day said every day. But not only that, Saint Francis wrote the most sublime commentary on the Our Father every written, better even than that of Saint Thomas Aquinas.

These details leads one to conclude that Our Heavenly Mother is trying very gently to indicate the importance of the Our Father for the salvation of the Church today.

I have seen many treatises on Prayer, but in none of them have I seen an explanation of the importance of the Our Father. So I want to share some observations on this, to demonstrate that that single prayer is the most important in all the cosmos, and the most important for each of us, to arrive at our eternal destiny. Consequently, it is the essence of the Catholic religion.

Between the Alpha and the Omega

When you connect your starting point with your destination with a line, you have traced out the path of your earthly journey.  That path may not be straight, because this world is full of crooked things and obstacles for travelers.

But in celestial movements, when you connect starting points with destinations, the lines are always straight.

The same is true in the supernatural order of things.

Before the Creation there was nothing but God. And there is nothing in Creation that did not come from God, or was made out of or from the things which came from God. And in the End, when this world is destroyed, there will be nothing left, but what has arrived at God, in Heaven, and what has refused to arrive there, which will be cast into eternal Hell fire.

The line connecting God as the Beginning or Alpha of all things to God as the End or Omega of all things, is, thus, the cosmic journey of all creation. It is the very context of the being of all things, whether physical or spiritual, natural or supernatural. Not every creature is in motion along that itinerary, most of it is divinely elaborate landscape. But mankind was intended as a race to be the journeyman.

And this is why, Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God, taught us only 1 prayer: the Our Father. A lot of scholars and theologians and especially liturgists are embarrassed by this. They think Christ should have written a Missale or something, or at least put a Breviary into print. But He did not.

He did not, because God, being Infinite, know how to say the Infinite in the singular, in the tiny, in the details of everything which comes forth from His Mouth. This is what makes the words of Jesus Christ in the Gospel everlasting. There is just no end to the treasures to be revealed in them.

And the Our Father is no different.

Step back for a moment and consider the Our Father in its totality.  It is a prayer addressed to God the Father, the First Person of the Trinity, the principle of the whole Trinity, since it is from Him alone that both the other Two Persons proceed. The prayer itself ends with petitions for things which are necessary for us to arrive at Heaven, our last End, God Himself — in Whom Saint Francis says the Saints dwell.

So the Our Father is, in its few phrases, THE prayer for the Cosmic journey I just spoke of, because it connects us to  God as our First Cause, our Alpha, and to God as our Last End, or Omega. There is no greater prayer of spiritual orientation than that.

And this is, I believe, the hidden message in the revelations made to Bl. Anna Katerina Emmerich. The Church has come to the present crisis because way too many of those in the Church, Clergy first of all, have lost their orientation and are wandering like fallen stars, out of their proper positions. They have forgotten to attend to what the words of the Our Father mean.

This is why I say, that the Our Father is the very sum and essence of the Catholic Religion, because our Holy Faith has nothing to do with anything more than orientating us to God and directing us to live with Him forever, by faith in God, penance for our sins, and a humble service of the Divine Majesty.  Just as you cannot properly pray the Our Father without turning to Him, so the Mass should always be offered with the whole congregation, priest included, facing the Father, ad orientem.

Moreover, just as there is no one who knows how to return to the Father except the Son Who has come down from the Father, so there is no sanity in religion without unswering adherence to all which the Son has established and how He established it.

All of this is put in question and denied in practice by those how hold that a heretic, apostate and uncanonically elected man is indubitably the Pope. That is like saying the road side snake oil peddler is your travel agent!

Words have meaning. If you deny that, you cannot even begin to pray the Our Father. Words have meaning, whether those words are ministerium and munus, or Pater Noster qui est in caelis….

That is also why it is cosmic insanity to change the words of the Our Father.

The Our Father is the most sublime prayer, when we say it, we should mean what we say, and because of its importance in the cosmic scale of things, IF WE DO NOT MEAN what we say when we pray the Our Father, we are truly lost.

__________

CREDITS: The Featured Image is an image of Bloch’s, Sermon on the Mount, painted in 1980, and is thus in the public domain.

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How to Pray: Part I, preparation

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

One of the most necessary things which most Catholics do poorly or omit frequently is prayer. And if you have had the grace and occasion to read the life of a true Saint, the first thing see in them is that they were devoted to God in prayer.

Without a doubt all Catholics pray and thus know how to pray to a certain degree. But why is it that so few become great Saints? — It is because nearly all of us for nearly all our lives never learn to pray correctly or well.

Yet prayer is the essence of faith, because, if faith leads us to assent to what God has revealed, then what is faith if it is not put into action by prayer. It is not only dead, it is frozen. Yes, faith is a virtue in the intellect and which governs the will, but a faith which does not pray is like a human being who has lobotomized himself. It is simply unnatural.

A definition of prayer

Saint John Bosco, whose feast was celebrated yesterday, held that the best way to educate students is to start with the best definitions.

Prayer is defined best of all as conversation or communication with God or one of His Saints in Heaven: by Saints, I mean the Holy Angels, Our Lady, Saint Joseph, and all the holy souls who have merited to be glorified with God in Heaven.

Motives for prayer

As we can see from our mundane human life, it is hard to live without talking to someone some of the time. Even the most reclusive hermit must speak with some human beings for those necessities which he cannot procure with the work of his own hands.

And this observation helps us understand that there are fundamental reasons for prayer. We pray for what we need, or for what we see others need. Our prayer can be motivated by trials or tribulations, which shock us into realizing we are in need. Or it can be motivated by our hope for better things in the future, or by our compassion for those who are in need, especially for those in darkness, doubt, despair, want, or confusion.

A lot of motives can bring us to pray, just as a lot of motives can bring us to talk to another person.

As Our Lord explained in the Book of Job, the motivation is not so important, as the praying. Even if you motives are not perfect or even wrong, you pay God respect by speaking with Him, even more respect than theologians who speak about Him but not to Him, as Jobs friends did.

How to dispose yourself to prayer

But it behooves, us, just as when speaking to other human beings, that when we pray to God or a Saint, we are properly disposed.  Being properly disposed regards things interior and exterior and things spiritual and material. It also regards things supernatural and natural. So let’s examine these.

INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR DISPOSITIONS

Obviously you cannot pray if you are thinking of something else. This is the first interior disposition. And obviously, unless you are quite adept of mind, you cannot pray intensely if you are doing something else. This is the first exterior disposition.

Now, in the modern world, when everyone is trying to do as much as possible, it seems strange to say this. But this necessity of not doing or thinking of something else is just as necessary when talking to others. Yes, if you are watching TV you can still respond to your wife’s question about who is going to take out the garbage. But when you go to a job interview you better not watch TV on your cellphone, during the interview!

Get my point?

Yes, there are times and there should be times that we praise God and express our affection for Him and His Saints when we are doing other things. This is true and right and very good. But such expressions are the matter of praise, and are obligations of faith and charity and hope. They help us sanctify the day in all we do. But they are low grade prayer, because they do not give God the attention He deserves, which is infinitely beyond the attention we should give someone who is considering to hire us for a job. — I say low grade, not according to their essence, because to praise God is the highest and perhaps the most meritorious of all prayers, but they are low grade in the way they are offered, while doing something else.

SPIRITUAL AND MATERIAL DISPOSITIONS

Spiritually, then, we should put aside all other thoughts or imaginations, and clear the clutter of our minds. This can only be done by an act of will. But not all understand that their will has this power, because they have never done it. This ability is like the ability to clean up your own room. If you never have done it, you do not know how to start and get it done. If you do it regularly, there is not much to do and you finish quickly.

For this reason, mortification, self denial and abstinence and fasting are corporal practices which help us clear the mind, because the distractions of the mind are all tied to things which are external or imaginations of things which are external. When we break with things which we love too much, we will clear our minds of the thoughts of them. This is why spiritual and material disposition go hand in hand. In fact, the first year students in Scholastic Theology at Paris in the 13th century were confronted by the shocking truth, told by Master Peter Lombard, that it is wrong to rejoice in anything, but God. Meditate on that for a while, and it will help you clear your mind by enabling to see how all the clutter in it opposes true joy and is a warning sign of idolatry of some kind or another.

There is also the material disposition of putting yourself in a place suitable for prayer and removing things from your presence which are distracting. This rule for prayer is why the Catholic Church has built so many Churches and Chapels and Convents and Shrines.

SUPERNATURAL AND NATURAL DISPOSITIONS

Naturally, we should dispose ourselves for prayer by proper preparation, that is, by doing things which raise our mind to God and prepare us to enter into prayer, such as being silent and still, turning our eyes to Sacred Images, or even reading some Scripture or part of a life of a Saint who inspires us.

Supernaturally we dispose ourselves to prayer by the practice of Key Virtues.

FAITH in God, that He is who He has revealed Himself to be.

HOPE in God, that He will be faithful to His promises to reward those who seek Him and who call upon Him.

LOVE for God, by which we exalt God above all our other desires and make ready to sacrifice not only the time of prayer but all other things which keep us from Him.

HUMILITY before God, by recognizing we do not deserve anything but punishment for our sins.

DISDAIN AND REVULSION for sin and vice, by which we detach our soul from things which drag us down to Hell.

The Crown of all, though, is being in the State of Grace

Without faith, it is impossible to please God. This is the teaching of Saint Paul. And this means if you believe the whole and true Catholic Faith, you can have the right motivation to beg God for grace even if you are in the state of Mortal sin, where you cannot merit to obtain anything from God, even if you do pray.

We cannot merit in the state of mortal sin or outside the state of grace, because we are  not in communion with God. Our souls, in such a state, reek with sin and darkness and are revolting to God. But we can even in such a state, by faith, beg for grace and beg the Saints to pray for us. And our having true Faith will merit us to be heard if we are humble, penitent and truly wish to be saved at all costs, and persevere until we obtain the grace of repentence, even if we must seek it for years on end.

But the State of Grace is the absolute necessity for efficacious prayer for all other graces, because just as the TV will not work without electricity, so the soul which is not plugged into the Holy Spirit, as it were, by being in the state of sanctifying grace, cannot function properly in prayer.

And Thus Confession is the door to efficacious Prayer

The Saints in life obtained great things by their prayers. And yet we might ask ourselves why this is not the case with us. This is because a lot more of us are in the state of mortal sin than we realize. Even those of us who have confessed our sins: not because the Sacrament of Confession does not work, but because we never went with a truly contrite heart and with a firm resolution. And in most cases this is because the priest never explained to us the evil of our sin and how to avoid it, and the roots of our sin and how to uproot them.

For example, some weeks go, I wrote an article on purity. See here. I can tell you that in my more than 45 years of going to confession regularly, I have never met a priest who knows how to explain in what consists the sin of impurity. Nearly all are confused into thinking it consists in looking or thinking or admiration. Few of them know how to describe consent to the movement of lust, which is what the sin consists in. That means that all those who go to confession to them are most likely never freed from their vice and thus remain objectively in mortal sin.

As Saint Alphonsus says, we should never presume before a sin, that God will give us true repentance. This is especially true of the sins of impurity. They are a deeply addictive scourge from which few escape even after lives of fidelity to God in all other things. These folks may not be judged by God as guilty of remaining in the vice, because they are so ignorant and have no one to shepherd them, but God nevertheless must justly judge them as liable for the sins and vice and must, therefore, withhold His graces in prayer.

This is why Confession and confessing well, scrubbing the soul down to our deepest desires and affections and hating and detesting with all the force of our minds and hearts the movements of our soul and body which led us to sin, is absolutely essential preparation for prayer. And this is why Saint Theresa of Avila says the first part of the spiritual life is learning to break from sin and mortify our evil passions. Only once we do that, are we, as it were plugged into God and can benefit by prayer in something more than the grace to repent. Until that time, we should beg God for the grace to be truly sorry for our sins and examine our consciences with no self respect until, in tears and groanings, we lament our wickedness and realize not only that without God we are nothing and merit the everlasting damnation of Hell fire, but that the very evil movements of our soul, which we have long permitted, are our eternal enemies and the works which we must entirely and forever reject.

In this regard, alas, most priests have been poorly trained. If you start to cry in confession or express doubt that you are truly sorry, they attempt to convince you that you are overdoing it or taking religion too seriously or are unstable or upset or scrupulous. The pitiable penances given after Vatican II show that the clergy have not received the proper formation to save souls. They think they are there to assuage consciences.

There is so much evil in the world today, that I do not think there is anyone actually scrupulous too much about how sorry he should be for his sins. Most saints wept their entire life for the few sins of their youth, and yet we, after a confession prance out of the Confessional as if we were sinless. That is totally wrong.

The Church in ancient times had a practice which was saner, in my opinion. The priests first imposed a penance, which lasted months or years, and only after faithfully completing it, did you receive absolution and were readmitted to communion. Many a Saint is a saint, because having realized the enormity of his sins, he became a monk or religious so as to do a life time of penance for the horrors he committed in his youth.

The obsession of so many clergy today to have married men ordained or ordained men allowed to marry, is a clear sign that many even in the clergy, have never made a good confession. For a contrite man fears the occasions of sin. And if God Incarnate Who could not sin and Whose human Flesh had no inclination to sin, never married, how much more ought we sinful men avoid the occasions of impurity, especially if we are called to the sublime service of God! — And do not quote the practice of the Eastern Rites. Married clergy was allowed in Council to keep priests from fornicating, not to make them holier priests!

So if you want to pray well, prepare well for prayer. Prayer is the only thing the Saints do in Heaven, it is literally our eternal destiny. Dedication to humble prayer is a sign of predestination. Preparation for praying well is preparation for Heaven.

Therefore, be humble, prepare and pray!

_________

CREDITS: The Featured Image is a faithful reproduction of Duccio di Buoninsegna’s, Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and is in the public domain. Our Lord’s prayer in the Garden is a model for the prayers of sinners who need to break with sin, choosing repentance at the cost of all sacrifice rather than eternal death, as well as the proper dispositions we should have when we seek God’s favors for ourselves or for others in prayer.

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What gift are your bringing the Babe of Bethlehem?

The Three Kings present their gifts to the Child Jesus, in the 17th Century Life Sized Christmas Creche, at Acireale, Sicily.

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

I do not know from whence arose the secular custom of making a New Year’s Resolution, but Catholics have a much better motive for changing their lives at the beginning of a New Year: Epiphany.

Epiphany is the ancient Christian Christmas. That is, the day on which Christians gave presents was not Christmas but Epiphany, the Feast of Manifestation. On this Day, Christians celebrated the miracle of the changing of water into wine, which Our Lord performed at Cana, in Galilee, to reveal Himself to Israel and begin His public ministry. On this day too, Christians celebrated the visit of the Magi to the Child Jesus, at Bethlehem, since it was on that day, that the first Gentiles came to adore the God-King of Israel.

The Three Kings gives us all an example of Christian life. That our life should be a pilgrimage, which is guided by the Light of Heaven, and which leads us to sacrifice and leave behind everything, so that we might lay down the treasure of our life in an act of adoration of the one True God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and in doing so, be found worthy to enter the House of the Holy Family, in the Kingdom of Heaven.

So what the Three Kings did on Epiphany, is an archetype of what we should be doing every day our our lives, and each year.

Let this be the motivation of your new years resolution. What gift are you going to give the Child of Bethlehem this year?

Let your gift be a gift of myrrh

Myrrh was a rare substance, the dried sap of a tree which only grew in the hottest and driest parts of Arabia. It was burnt at funerals as a sign of morning and to cover the stench of the decaying body.

Myrrh in Christian traditions has thus always been a sign of mortification and of the spiritual gifts we give God by mortifying our passions.

And the best gift of Myrrh you can give is purity.  Because lust, howsoever little it be indulged in, is a mortal sin. And many live in this vice their whole lives, deceiving themselves into thinking, that what Our Lord speaks of, when He says, “If a man so much as look as a woman desiring her, he commits adultery with her in his heart”, he is speaking of the desire for a particular woman, the use of the imagination, or a consummated act imagined or wanted.*

No, the truth is, as the Saints teach us, that Our Lord is speaking of the simple desire to rejoice sexually at sight of her.

A whole generation of Catholics were ruined by an anecdote which was told about Pope John Paul II, that, namely, he had the habit of looking at women as the passed by. And that he excused himself saying it was only a sin if you looked twice.

This is simply not true. It’s a mortal sin. And it is not just mortal for a man who is not free to marry, such as a priest or religious or a man who is already married. It is mortal for all men and all women, whether they get a rush from it or not.

This sin consists in desire, not in acting, not in imagining, but in allowing oneself the desire. It is wrong to feel another person in this way, just as it is wrong to feel the sight of any human being, yourself, or another, in this way. This is why the use of pornography is always, in every circumstance, a mortal sin in itself. For since the consent to experience pleasure is a perfect moral act, as no one does this who does not know of the pleasure, who does not will to accept it, and who does not will to rejoice in it.

Purity on the other hand consists in repelling or rejecting with disdain and disgust impure desire, and in taking every step to avoid its occurrence, through modest dress, turning aside the eyes, and avoiding bad company and the use of social media when one is being tempted.

Let your gift be a gift of Frankincense

Frankincense was the sweetest smelling of all incenses. Frank- in the English word, means the common kind of.  All scents of incense, which are made of dried resins, use Frankincense as the base, since it has the ability to carry every scent into the air in its smoke when burnt.

Frankincense, thus, is a symbol of spiritual gifts which continually rise from the heart.  And these are best categorized under the name of prayer.  As Christians, we are called to everlasting continual communion with God. And since God is a Spirit, we can only do this through prayer, continual prayer, which is founded upon acts of Adoration, Praise, Love, Faith, Hope, Petition.  This is the true desire which should fill the heart of a Christian and blot out all lust for this world.

Let your gift be a gift of Gold

Gold was and is the treasure of kings. As a gift in the hands of the Magi, it symbolizes the greatest gift we can give, of our own selves and of our very lives, purely to God out of love for Him. Let us resolve to do all the good and non-evil things that we do, for the love of God. And let us resolve never to do anything which is sinful, not even venially.

He guards the gold of his own soul, who best protects it. For what do you have more precious that your immortal soul, which by its nature exists FOREVER. And which cannot know eternal blessedness except in GOD and WITH HIM forever.

The promise of eternal salvation in Christ, then, should be in the forefront of our minds NOT ONLY as the greatest reward and treasure we can possibly have, but as the only reward and treasure which we can have FOREVER.

And, thus, the best protection of this gold of our soul is to make every decision in view of our eternal salvation and that of others. We should use this criterion always: What way can I do this in a way which does not endanger my soul? If there is no way, then do not do it even if it appears licit. If it is evil, then flee from it, regardless of how many of those around you fling themselves into it.

What gifts are you bringing the Child of Bethlehem this Epiphany?

Today is Saturday: go to the store of Confession and buy by your tears and firm proposal of amendment one or more of these gifts, to present to the Child Jesus at Mass on Epiphany, this Monday!

(I will leave it to those more adept than I, to guess which King is which: leave your guesses in the Comments section, if you like).

_________

* For those not familiar with Catholic teaching on morals, please note that this case deals with a woman who is not your wife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join the League of Prayer for Pope Benedict XVI

THIS IS SO IMPORTANT, THAT IT WILL APPEAR BEFORE ALL NEW POSTS

(Scroll down below this Call to Prayer, to see new posts)

There are a lot of prayer initiatives around, which are merely human in origin. But when we pray, we should do so out of supernatural motivation and especially when requested by Heaven.

One of the most important prayer initiatives in Catholic History, is the Request that we pray much for the Holy Father. This request comes from no less than the saintly Children at Fatima, who urged us not only to pray very much for sinners, but that we should pray very much for the Holy Father.

This prayer request for the Holy Father comes from Sr. Lucia and from Jacinta, who being shown the grave difficulties in the Church spoke of the need to pray for the Holy Father for 2 reasons:  That he might perform the Consecration to Russia requested by Our Lord; and that he might endure the persecution that he would one day suffer from those all around him.

Regarding the first reason, Sr. Lucia makes this statement in her Memoirs, p. 414:

“‘The Holy Father! Pray very much for the Holy Father! He will do it, but it will be late. Nevertheless, the Immaculate Heart of Mary will save Russia, which has been entrusted to it.'”

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Jacinta’s Two visions

Regarding the second reason, Jacinta calls for prayers for the Holy Father, after seeing TWO of the events which are now taking place in the Church (Source): which Sr Lucia relates her third Memoir:

Also, in her third memoir, she tells us about two incidents in which Jacinta saw visions of a future Pope, and these also relate to the secret.

One day, while they were near the well at Lucia’s home, Jacinta asked her if she had seen the Holy Father. When Lucia replied, “No,” Jacinta said: “I don’t know how it was, but I saw the Holy Father in a very big house, kneeling by a table, with his head buried in his hands, and he was weeping. Outside the house, there were many people. Some of them were throwing stones; others were cursing him and using bad language. Poor Holy Father, we must pray very much for him.”

Sr Lucia then tells us: “At another time, we went to the cave called Lapa do Cabeço. As soon as we got there, we prostrated on the ground, saying the prayers the Angel had taught us. After some time, Jacinta stood up and called to me: ‘Can’t you see all those highways and roads and fields full of people, who are crying with hunger and have nothing to eat? And the Holy Father in a church praying before the Immaculate Heart of Mary? And so many people praying with him?’ Some days later, she asked me: ‘Can I say that I saw the Holy Father and all those people?’ ‘No. Don’t you see that that’s part of the secret? If you do, they’ll find out right away.’ ”

Let us respond!

Many authors believe that this FIRST vision of Jacinta is a prophetic revelation of what Pope Benedict is suffering since February 2013, because at no time in the history of the modern Papacy has a Pope resided in a small house, and been nearly universally derided by those in the Church. The image of a house being pelted with stones by those around it, also seems to imply that the worst enemies of the Holy Father are those in the Vatican which surrounds where he presently lives: in the Monastery of Our Lady Mother of the Church, at the heart of the Vatican Gardens.

The second vision of Jacinta appears to be Heaven’s indication of how to respond to the First vision: namely by JOINING WITH THE HOLY FATHER in prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

Let us be that “so many people” praying with the Holy Father “before the Immaculate Heart of Mary”!

Chose whatever prayers you wish, but PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!

THIS IS THE LEAGUE OF PRAYER for the Holy Father. Spread the word and recruit others to offer:

  1. Daily prayers.
  2. Worthy communions and confessions.
  3. Acts of penance and sacrifices.
  4. Fasting and abstinence.
  5. Alms for the poor.
  6. Recitation of THE MOST HOLY ROSARY.
  7. Acts of Consecration to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, whether personal or in groups, parishes, Dioceses etc.

Versione Italiana: https://www.chiesaromana.info/index.php/2019/12/19/la-lega-di-preghiera-per-papa-benedetto-xvi/ (This version is a deepl.com translation, if you find errors, leave a comment there)

The Following Blogs or Websites have joined

… in this League of Prayer by promoting it with a re-posting of the call to prayer:

(Listed in order of their adhesion, according to time)

Please let us know of your adhesion to this Effort, via comment or ping-back. Thank you!

ALSO: SIGN THIS PETITION TO PRESIDENT TRUMP
FOR THE PROTECTION OF POPE BENEDICT XVI!