Prayer to the Guardian Angel of the United States

IMG_1419 - Version 2Today, as the 538 members of the Electoral College cast their votes, let’s remember to say a prayer for them, as well as for our nation.  This is a beautiful prayer to our country’s Guardian Angel from Opus Sanctorum Angelorum.

Prayer to the Guardian Angel of the United States

O Glorious Guardian Angel of the United States, to whom God has entrusted the care of our beloved country, we honor you and thank you for the care and protection you have given to this great nation from the first moment of its inception.
O Powerful Angel Guardian, whose watchful glance encompasses this vast land from shore to shore, we know that our sins have grieved you and marred the beauty of our heritage. Lead us to a deep conversion, so that we may return to the embrace of His merciful love!
O Holy Angel, obtain for us, through the intercession of the Queen of Heaven before the throne of God the graces we need to overcome the forces of evil so rampant in our beloved land.
Help us, our God-given protector and friend, to respond wholeheartedly to the urgent pleas of the Mother of God at Fatima.  Assist us to offer the prayers and sacrifices necessary to bring peace and goodness to our nation.
We want to make you known and loved throughout our land, so that docile to your inspirations we may know, love and serve our Lord more faithfully and so become once more “one Nation under God”!  Amen.

O Maria, sine labe concepta, ora pro nobis qui ad te confugimus.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

The Woman & the Dragon, Life & Death

guadelupeAnd a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars:  And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered.

And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns: and on his head seven diadems:  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered; that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son. (Rev 12:1-4)

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live  and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Deut 30: 19-20)

Recently we’ve been talking about spiritual warfare – the war between satan and Saint Michael, the war between the prince of this world and the Kingdom of God.  It becomes even more tangible when you see the occult connection between a party’s platform and their personal life, as we saw in recently released emails regarding “spirit cooking” (if you don’t know what that is, look it up, it’s not just “performance art”).

I think sometimes we hear phrases like “culture of life” and “culture of death” and we can grow deaf to their full meaning.  When the Church speaks of the life vs death culture war we are engaged in, this is actually what She is talking about, this battle between the dragon, who wants to devour the Child, and the Woman, who represents both Our Lady and the Church, who gives birth to the King of kings and so defeats the dragon.  When you hear the Church say that we must put the life principles above all other issues, and at the top of that is the right to life of the unborn, She knows what She’s talking about. One political party has been called the Party of Death by many Catholics and Christians because of their unwavering commitment to abortion on demand and their alignment with anti-life principles. This naturally moves into attacks on religious liberty, two obvious examples are the court cases filed by EWTN and the Little Sisters of the Poor in response to the HHS Mandate. They, and many, many other Catholic and religious groups, want to continue operating without violating their deeply held religious convictions (convictions which one candidate stated publicly “have to be changed”)  by being forced to provide contraceptive coverage to employees.

St. Ignatius urges us to “wake up”, to be aware of evil within and without, in our own hearts and in the world around us.  We do ourselves, our country, and countless innocent children, born and unborn, a great disservice if we shut our eyes to the evil which is being revealed.  We might feel discouraged, we might feel hopeless but we actually have so many reasons to hope.  Jesus Christ is our first hope; He has defeated death and the kingdom of death, and we are united with Him in our baptism, and can be united to Him daily in Holy Communion.

jesus2He has given Our Lady to us as a mother and protector, and it’s her job to crush the serpent’s head.  She is working, and it may be that her time of triumph is quite close.  Remember the vision of Pope Leo XIII? On October 13, 1884, he was standing at the foot of the altar after Mass when he overheard two voices in conversation, that seemed to come from near the tabernacle.  A harsh voice said “I can destroy your Church.” A gentle voice replied, “You can? Then go ahead and do so.” The wicked voice said it needed more time, 75-100 years, and more power over those who would give themselves to his service. The gentle voice acceded saying, “You have the time, you have the power.  Do with them what you will.”  After hearing this conversation the Holy Father immediately went and composed the prayer to St. Michael which he requested  be recited after every low Mass.  Exactly 33 years later, on October 13, 1917, Our Lady’s final apparition to the three children in Fatima took place and the miracle of the sun was witnessed by tens of thousands of people.  Our Lady called for prayer and sacrifice for peace, for the conversion of Russia.  She foretold suffering and war if her message was not heeded, but that in the end her Immaculate Heart would triumph.

Perhaps the 100 year reign of satan is in its final stage, and that is why he reveals himself so blatantly now – he knows the end is near and he’s pulling out all the stops.  We don’t know what will happen this week, but we can be sure of a few things.  Firstly, that we must pray, pray, pray and fast for God’s Will to be done, for hearts to be converted, and for evil to be expelled from our nation.  We must vote according to the Church’s teachings on the non-negotiable issues: the dignity of human life from conception to natural death; the dignity of marriage and the family, the building block of every society; and religious freedom, including the rights of parents to educate their children. We must trust in God and speak the Truth – it is a weapon, a sword, Our Lord tells us, and a powerful weapon it is.  Truth is not just an opinion or a thought, it’s actually a Person:  Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  When we speak in truth we are united to Him.  In prayer, especially through meditating on His life in the Rosary, we come  to know Him more deeply, and to be conformed more and more into His image.  Our Lady can teach us so much about her Son, and we need to stay close to her through the Rosary.

It’s become commonplace in our culture for people to deny God, but also to deny the reality of evil.  It’s even tempting for those of us who believe in God to deny evil at times because it is so frightening.  But seeing evil so starkly presented can be an occasion for souls to turn to good, to turn to God.  Our Lady will triumph, we can be certain of that, and she is already working in the hearts and minds of many who don’t yet know her or her Son.  Continue to pray for the protection of all the truth-tellers who are putting their life and work on the line, we are so grateful to God for their courage.

I love listening to the Rosary with Fr. Groeschel which airs on EWTN.  In his meditations for the sorrowful mysteries we hear that whenever good confronts evil there is suffering.  Right now this confrontation is happening on a grand scale in our country.  And there will be suffering.  We don’t really know what that might look like, but we must keep in mind that we worship a Crucified Savior.  He saved us through the Cross, and we are called to follow in His footsteps.  Suffering, even dying, is not the worst thing that can happen to us.  Sin and spending eternity without God are what we should fear.  Put on the armor of God, pray, support all those who fight with the sword of Truth by your prayers and sacrifices – I’m sure many of them aren’t familiar with spiritual warfare, but they are committed to truth and transparency.  We can aid them in the fight by intercessory prayer.

When Our Lady of America spoke to Sr. Mildred Neuzil she said that America was called to be a beacon of purity for the entire world.

“I wish it to be the country dedicated to my purity. The wonders I will work will be the wonders of the soul. They must have faith and believe firmly in my love for them. I desire that they be the children of my Pure Heart. I desire, through my children in America, to further the cause of faith and purity among peoples and nations…I do not promise miracles of the body, but of the soul.” … “Pray and do penance, my sweet child, that this may come to pass.” (Diary, Pgs. 10-15.)

America is consecrated to the Immaculate Conception, she who was conceived free from original sin, the Purissima.  May she intercede for our nation and make it pure, God-fearing, and committed to protecting the most vulnerable members of our society.  May she build in each of our hearts a culture of life.

“My Daughter, I Want to Teach You About Spiritual Warfare”

the_battle_of_lepanto_by_paolo_veronese

My daughter, I want to teach you about spiritual warfare…

Our Lord spoke these words to St. Faustina in 1938, directing her for three days while she was on retreat (full text at the end of this post).  Each of us is engaged, here on earth, with the spiritual battle which rages unseen all around us between satan and his demons, and us, the people of God, and His angels.  It’s an overwhelming thought, that all hell is waging war against us, against Christ’s Church, against the Kingdom of God, but it is true, and we must be aware and well-prepared.  Perhaps it’s not so hard to imagine spiritual warfare, when we can look around and see the wars and tensions Continue reading

Bring Truth or Bring Destruction

Constitution and Declaration of Independence on Grungy Betsy RosFour years ago we began this blog because we saw the need to add another authentically Catholic voice to the pre-election discourse, when the Catholic voice that dominated the mainstream media was coming from religious women who minimized the value of unborn life and aligned themselves with a very anti-life and anti-Catholic party.  That anti-Catholicism has become even more obvious with the recent WikiLeaks email releases documenting the unrelenting efforts to undermine Catholic teaching and practice by creating subversive groups within the Church.

All Catholics, both laity and religious, have a duty to bring Truth to the public square, to let the 2000 year tradition and teachings of the Church founded by Christ permeate every area of their lives.  But if we bring half-truths and distortions of the Church into the world, we bring nothing but destruction.  We are living in a culture of death, and leaving no one unscathed, it has become firmly entrenched even among Christians.  Pope Benedict XVI has called it “a schizophrenic situation”, this divided existence which so many Christians are living.  He says that being Christian can’t become something we live alongside modernity; since Christianity itself is alive and ever-new, it can embrace modernity:

It is important for us to try to live Christianity and to think as Christians in such a way that it incorporates what is good and right about modernity —and at the same time separates and distinguishes itself from what is becoming a counter-religion.”  

Msgr. Charles Pope, of the Archdiocese of Washington, recently blogged about this, inspired by an animated short film called The Clocktower:  “The Church is a central part of the functioning of our times, our culture. But her role is not to become the same as the culture, but to inspire and to be a conduit of blessing that lights up the culture and helps it to move in productive directions. Instead, too many in the Church have joined the culture, becoming indistinguishable from it. In so doing we stop being a conduit of God’s grace; things grind to a halt and become bland, colorless, and dysfunctional.”

Here is his whole post:

This week I have been writing about the problems of our culture. Today I continue in that vein with a short reflection on the Church’s role, based on the animated short below. For indeed, the darkness and dysfunction of our times cannot be simply blamed on the world, the Church, too, bears a large share of the responsibility.

The video features a woman in a clock tower; it is she who keeps the clock running. As the video progresses, we see that the clock itself plays a pivotal role in keeping the world around it alive and colorful. Consider the woman as an image for the Church, and the clock as an image for our culture (note that “culture” also refers to the times in which we live).

The woman grows bored with sustaining the clock, longing to go out and see the world outside—and so she leaves the clock tower. But because she is the central cog of the entire clock, it grinds to a halt without her. As she emerges into the world, suddenly all goes gray and comes to a stop. Through her attempt to become part of the world she so desires, that very world loses its beauty and is no longer desirable.

This is the tale of the Church these past hundred years. The Church is a central part of the functioning of our times, our culture. But her role is not to become the same as the culture, but to inspire and to be a conduit of blessing that lights up the culture and helps it to move in productive directions. Instead, too many in the Church have joined the culture, becoming indistinguishable from it. In so doing we stop being a conduit of God’s grace; things grind to a halt and become bland, colorless, and dysfunctional.

For the culture to be truly what it is called to be, the Church must be what she is called to be. She is called to love the people of the world, to love the culture (but not be enamored of it). The Church must in a sense be above the culture and beneath the authority of God; she must be the conduit of God’s graces and act as a bridge between God and man.

When the Church leaves her place and shirks her role, the culture winds down and loses its color and life. When the Church is the Church, through her preaching and sacramental life, the culture is so much more alive with goodness, beauty, and truth.

Enjoy this beautiful video and consider its message for us.

 

Post-Partisan Depression?

A week ago yesterday we spent the day with the only person who can save our country, Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  We, like so many of you, had high hopes for the election.  But as we learned later that night, the American electorate has chosen a different road for our future.  Surprisingly, we don’t feel as depressed by this as one would expect – as we ourselves even expected.  This is not to discount the difficulties and sufferings we will all have to endure now, there is no doubt that all Americans are going to go through some very hard times in the future.  But we still have hope because, as dark as things may look, God is still in control, He loves us, and He has the power to turn this disaster into something great.  He specializes in that, actually.  If you don’t believe it, just look at a Crucifix.

Our hope lies in God, our trust is in God.  We weren’t looking for an earthly savior (and we certainly did not get one) but we must trust God.  No matter who had won the election we would still be facing an increasingly secular, anti-Christian culture.

Christopher Dawson said every age is an age of crisis for the Church.  How are we to face the crisis of this age? With hope, with faith, with charity.  It is not our calling to sit back, self-satisfied, in a time of peace and prosperity for the Church.  The culture of death opens its mouth wider and wider each day to swallow beauty, truth, dignity, and life.  Fighting the beast with Truth and Life isn’t just one option, it’s our only option.  Our lives and hearts must be firmly rooted in Jesus Christ and His Church.  This requires a daily, even hourly, re-orienting of ourselves toward Him.

Catholics should be good students of history.  Though persecution hasn’t been as savage in America as in other countries, we cannot expect to be exempt from that forever.  The important thing is to prepare ourselves to defend the Faith, even when it’s uncomfortable and unpopular, and to strengthen ourselves spiritually, being faithful in the small things so that, by God’s grace, when the big things come our way we will stand firmly with Christ and His Church.

No prayer is ever wasted, even when things don’t turn out in ways that seem best to us.  God’s ears are never closed to our petitions, and we won’t stop petitioning Him for our country and our religious freedom.  Now is the time to pray for an outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  The culture of death can’t be voted away, we must conquer it one heart at a time, beginning with our own.

God is always good.  And not only is He always good, but He is always God, all the time, despite our temptation to operate as though He is on vacation or has more important matters to tend to.  He is the Lord of every situation we face.  On Sundays, solemnities and feast days, as part of the Liturgy of the Hours, we pray the Te Deum, a hymn of praise to God that reminds us of the reasons for our hope.  It closes with a responsory which boldly claims:  In you, Lord, is our hope:/and we shall never hope in vain.  Truly, because our hope lies in the Eternal One, we can hold fast to it always. 

Vote. Pray. Trust.

We took advantage of early voting last week.  On Friday we each cast our vote for life and liberty.  Here we are leaving the polling place.

During our travels to and from Reno we had the opportunity to talk to many people from different walks of life, not all Catholic, who all said they have deep sense of peace about the elections and a strong hope.  We came home from that trip very encouraged.  God is in control.  No matter what happens, we must keep that foremost in our minds and hearts.  As one friend of ours often says, God is very good at turning straw into gold.

Today we are manning (nunning?) adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament at Our Lady of the Atonement.  We have cast our votes, now the most important thing that we can do is pray.  And having the Blessed Sacrament exposed in a public chapel, rather than our home chapel, was very important to us, and to Fr. Phillips as well, so that others could have an opportunity to make a visit to Our Lord.

Wherever you are today, even if you can only spare five minutes, try to make a visit to Our Lord and ask Him to pour out His grace and mercy on our nation.  Adoration may not be available where you live, but Jesus is just as glad to see you, whether He is hidden in the tabernacle or exposed in the monstrance for adoration.

May God bless America!

Bishop Rice on Democracy Without Values

Hello, all!  We have had a lot going on the last week and a half, including a conference in Reno, hence the lack of posts.  But we want you to know we are still here, still praying for our nation and for all of you, and still trying to eke out a blog post in the midst of all this.

We will fill you in on our adventures in Reno in the coming days, but since the election is just days away, we want to keep the focus on praying for religious liberty.

In Reno we were given a CD of a fantastic talk given by Bishop Edward Rice, the Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis, to a Catholic women’s conference this past March.  He speaks about the HHS Mandate, the possible loss of religious liberty, and the fact that at the heart of this debate about so-called “women’s health issues” is a philosophical question about what being a woman really means.  Below are a few audio clips we wanted to share with you.  If you would like to order the full CD you can click here to contact Holy Family Resources.

God Doesn’t Make Junk

Democracy Without Values

The First Amendment

One last thing, we also want to say THANK YOU to all the Bishops who have recently spoken out about voting with a Catholic conscience.  Please pray for our Bishops!