Praise God for prayers answered!

saint_raphaelThis morning we found out that a dear friend was gravely ill and would undergo surgery today.  Please thank God with us, the surgery was successful!  He still has a long way to go, so please join us in praying to St. Raphael for his continued recovery, wisdom for the doctors and nurses, and comfort and strength for his beautiful family.

Novena Prayer to St. Raphael

Glorious Archangel Saint Raphael,
great prince of the heavenly court,
you are illustrious
for your gifts of wisdom and grace.
You are a guide of those who journey
by land or sea or air,
consoler of the afflicted,
and refuge of sinners.
I beg you,
assist me in all my needs
and in all the sufferings of this life,
as once you helped
the young Tobias on his travels.
Because you are the medicine of God,
I humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities
of my soul and the ills that afflict my body.
I especially ask of you the favour

(Make your request here…)

and the great grace of purity
to prepare me to be the temple of the Holy Spirit.


St. Raphael,
of the glorious seven
who stand before the throne of Him
who lives and reigns,
Angel of health,
the Lord has filled your hand
with balm from heaven
to soothe or cure our pains.
Heal or cure the victim of disease.
And guide our steps when doubtful of our ways.


Why pray for the holy souls in purgatory?

A baroque painting of Mary as the protectress of the poor souls in purgatory in the pilgrimage church of the Holy Trinity in Weihenlinden, Bavaria. The belief that love can reach into the afterlife, that reciprocal giving and receiving is possible, in which our affection for one another continues beyond the limits of death—this has been a fundamental conviction of Christianity throughout the ages and it remains a source of comfort today. Who would not feel the need to convey to their departed loved ones a sign of kindness, a gesture of gratitude or even a request for pardon? Now a further question arises: if “Purgatory” is simply purification through fire in the encounter with the Lord, Judge and Saviour, how can a third person intervene, even if he or she is particularly close to the other? When we ask such a question, we should recall that no man is an island, entire of itself. Our lives are involved with one another, through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone. The lives of others continually spill over into mine: in what I think, say, do and achieve. And conversely, my life spills over into that of others: for better and for worse. So my prayer for another is not something extraneous to that person, something external, not even after death. In the interconnectedness of Being, my gratitude to the other—my prayer for him—can play a small part in his purification. And for that there is no need to convert earthly time into God’s time: in the communion of souls simple terrestrial time is superseded. It is never too late to touch the heart of another, nor is it ever in vain. In this way we further clarify an important element of the Christian concept of hope. Our hope is always essentially also hope for others; only thus is it truly hope for me too[40]. As Christians we should never limit ourselves to asking: how can I save myself? We should also ask: what can I do in order that others may be saved and that for them too the star of hope may rise? Then I will have done my utmost for my own personal salvation as well.      

-From Spe Salvi, by Pope Benedict XVI

Click here to read the rest of the encyclical.

A Prayer to St. Joseph

One quick post on this last day of October, the month dedicated to the Holy Rosary.  We came across this prayer by “accident” which, of course, was completely Divine Providence.

Pope Leo XIII wanted this prayer to St. Joseph to be added to the recitation of the Rosary during the month of October.  Though that was in 1889, there’s no reason we can’t also add it to our Rosaries today.  In these times, when the priests and bishops of the Church are under such attack by satan, why not offer this prayer to St. Joseph (the Protector of the Universal Church) for their protection, courage and growth in personal holiness.   As St. Joseph was chosen by God the Father to guard and protect the Word made flesh, may priests and bishops always be guardians of God’s Word, and of Jesus in the Eucharist, where He is just as vulnerable and defenseless today as He was in His Infancy.

To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we have recourse in our tribulation, and having implored the help of thy thrice-holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also. By that charity wherewith thou wast united to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and by that fatherly affection with which thou didst embrace the Child Jesus, we beseech thee and we humbly pray, that thou wouldst look graciously upon the inheritance which Jesus Christ hath purchased by His Blood, and assist us in our needs by thy power and strength.

Most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, protect the chosen people of Jesus Christ; keep far from us, most loving father, all blight of error and corruption; mercifully assist us from heaven, most mighty defender, in this our conflict with the powers of darkness; and, even as of old thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from the supreme peril of His life, so now defend God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; keep us one and all under thy continual protection, that we may be supported by thine example and thine assistance, may be enabled to lead a holy life, die a happy death, and come at last to the possession of everlasting blessedness in heaven. Amen.

And since it is All Hallow’s Eve, if you’re looking for a post about that, Taylor Marshall has a couple good ones here and here.

The Power of the Rosary to Transform and Heal

Our Lady of the Rosary with Saints, artist unknown, Brooklyn MuseumIn this month dedicated to the Holy Rosary we wanted to draw your attention to the power this prayer has in the most dire situations.  The rosary is one of the greatest weapons we have in the Catholic arsenal and stories of its power abound.  In fact, the reason we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Rosary on the seventh of this month is because the miraculous victory of the Christian fleet over the Turks at Lepanto is credited to the intercession of Our Lady through the rosary, which the whole Church was praying.

Last month we had the privilege of hearing Immaculee Illibagiza speak about her experience during the Rwandan genocide in the 1990s.  If you aren’t familiar with her story you need to read her book, Left to Tell, which has made a deep impact on each of us Continue reading

A Queen Who Intercedes for Her People

Esther before Ahasuerus;  Giovanni Andrea SIRANI; 1630s;Oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest   The Liturgy of the Hours is part of the heartbeat of our religious life, which, along with Eucharistic Adoration and the Mass, gives a rhythm to our daily life.  The cycle of readings which we go through each year is another element of this rhythm, and at different times of the year we can look forward to rereading our favorite books of the Old or New Testament as we come upon them in the Office of Readings.

Yesterday we began reading the Book of Esther. It only takes a few days to read through before beginning the book of the prophet Baruch, so we spend less time with it than we do with some of the other Old Testament books in the Office of Readings.  But just because it’s short, doesn’t mean it isn’t important.  Esther is one of the prefigurements of Our Lady which we find in the Old Testament.  There were many different women who foreshadowed or mirrored the role Our Lady would have in salvation history:  Eve, Judith, Esther and Ruth, to name just a few  Marian types found in the Old Testament.  The Church Fathers recognized this as early as the second century.  Here’s a great blog post about Esther and Our Lady from Fr. Joseph of the Contemplatives of Saint Joseph.

Thoughts and Official Prayers

Here are some of Pope Francis’ thoughts from the homily at this morning’s canonization Mass.  This is my transcription, so don’t quote me – I tried to type fast enough to keep up with Pope Francis, but at 4am I’m not quite up to speed.

They were priests, bishops and popes of the twentieth century.  They lived through the tragic events of that century but were not overwhelmed by them. Faith in Jesus the Redeemer of Man and Lord of History was more powerful. The love of God shown by those five wounds was more powerful. And more powerful, too, was the love of Mary, our mother. In these two men, who looked upon the wounds of Christ, there dwelt an indescribable joy… May these two new saints and shepherds of God’s people intercede for the Church.  May both of them teach us not to be scandalized by the wounds of Christ, and to enter more deeply into the mysteries of Divine Mercy, which always hopes and always forgives, because it always loves.

Continue reading

Show Notes – A Good Habit 4/2/14

A Good Habit Show NotesWelcome to our very first Show Notes post! You didn’t think we were really going to post them, did you?

Yesterday on A Good Habit we talked about the sacrament of reconciliation, prompted by Pope Francis’ call to make confession available for everyone during a day he called “24 Hours for the Lord.”  You can read more about that, and read his prepared remarks, here.

The novena we have been praying can be found below, along with information on the priest who started it, Fr. Dolindo Ruotolo.  Just looking around the internet for more information about him, we discovered a couple of books he wrote: Come, Holy Spirit and A Month With Mary. Some of his writings and meditations can be found here.

This account from a biography about him reminds us very much of our own Rev. Mother Angelica: Continue reading