A Novena for the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

peter-receives-the-keysJoin us in praying a novena in honor of the Chair of St. Peter, beginning Monday, February 13th.  The nine days will conclude on the 21st, the day before the feast day of the Chair of Peter.  This ancient feast reminds us of the authority entrusted to St. Peter the apostle by Our Lord himself, which has been passed down to each of his successors for over 2000 years.

Thank you Fr. Phillips for sharing this novena with us!

NOVENA BEFORE THE FEAST OF THE CHAIR OF ST. PETER

V. In the Name of the Father, + and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
R. Amen.

Antiphon: That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;
R. And upon this Rock I will build my Church.

[Each day’s scripture and intention is read aloud. After a brief silence, the final prayers are offered.]
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February 13th.
And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, [Jesus] saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.
– St. Mark 1:16-18

Intention: That we may follow the call of Christ without hesitation.
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February 14th.
[Jesus] said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
– St. Luke 5:4-8

Intention: That we may obey our Lord’s commandments with humility.
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February 15th.
[Jesus] asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Eljjah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.
– St. Matthew 16:13-18

Intention: That we may confidently confess our faith in Jesus Christ.
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February 16th.
After six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them, and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
– St. Mark 9:2-3

Intention: That with Peter, we may see Christ as he is.
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February 17th.
Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
– St. John 6:67-69
Intention: That we may know Christ as the Incarnate Word, and follow him.
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February 18th.
[Jesus asked the soldiers,] “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he; so, if you seek me, let these men go.” Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his right ear.
– St. John 18:7-8,10a

Intention: That we may refrain from hasty or imprudent words and actions.
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February 19th.
Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself.
– St. John 20:3-4, 6-7
Intention: That our lives may give witness to the Risen Lord Jesus Christ.
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February 20th.
Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
– St. John 21:15-17

Intention: That we may remain in close communion with the Successor of St. Peter, whose task it is to strengthen us in the faith.
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February 21st.
Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.”
Acts 2:14
Intention: That in union with St. Peter we may proclaim the Gospel to the whole world.
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FINAL PRAYER (to be offered each day)

O Almighty God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst give to thy Apostle Saint Peter many excellent gifts, and commandedst him earnestly to feed thy flock: make, we beseech thee, all Bishops and Pastors diligently to preach thy holy Word, and the people obediently to follow the same; that they may receive the crown of everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

V. St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles;
R. Pray for us.

V. In the Name of the Father, + and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
R. Amen.

Gaudete! Rejoice!

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Tree of Jesse by Gerard David (1460-1523)

We have reason to rejoice on this third Sunday of Advent, when the Church reminds us that the Lord is near at hand.  Soon we will see Him lying in the manger…just a little while more and we can fall on our knees with the shepherds before the King of Kings.  Rejoice, the promised Redeemer, Whom the prophets foretold, for Whom so many generations prayed and yearned, is almost here.  No matter the circumstances, we can always have cause for rejoicing because God has taken on human flesh, He has reached out His own hand to save us, and it is the hand of a tiny Baby, a Baby Who is also God.  Many artists have depicted the lineage of Our Lord in paintings of the “Tree of Jesse”, the above being just one example of many to be found.  The name is taken from Isaiah 11:1 “And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root.”

Today is called “Gaudete Sunday” because it is the first word of the introit for today’s Mass, taken from Phillipians and Psalm 85:

 Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione et obsecratione cum gratiarum actione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Benedixisti Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob

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.

 

Our Lady of Unity

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Shine on us, dear Lady, with thy bright countenance, like the sun in his strength, O stella matutina, O harbinger of peace, till our year is one perpetual May. From thy sweet eyes, from thy pure smile, from thy majestic brow, let ten thousand influences rain down, not to confound or overwhelm, but to persuade, to win over thine enemies. O Mary, my hope, O Mother undefiled, fulfil to us the promise of this Spring.

-Bl. John Henry Newman

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It was 20 years ago that I became a Catholic, and a couple years after that, when I first began attending the parish named after her, that I first came to know the Mother of God as Our Lady of the Atonement.  But even then, it wasn’t until I entered the monastery in Alabama that I actually began to take a greater interest in her.  I think it started with homesickness, and a longing for everything I was missing from Texas.  But then I came to know her story in much greater depth when I stumbled upon a book called Our Lady and Reunion, in the cloister library.  Imagine my surprise when I opened it up to find Our Lady of the Atonement herself, looking up at me from the title page!IMG_6982

It’s been almost 15 years since I’ve read the book, but one thing that that’s always stuck with me is something that Cardinal Newman wrote about Our Lady’s role in the return of England to the Catholic faith.  Our Lady of the Atonement is the Mother of Unity – this is what her title denotes the At-One-Ment of man with God, and with all men in the Church founded by Christ.  It’s all there, even in the beginning of devotion to her under this new Continue reading

Joyful Mystery

Corpus Christi ProcessionHow appropriate that this year the Solemnity of Corpus Christi falls just two days before the Feast of the Visitation.  You could say that the Visitation was the first Corpus Christi procession, and surely the longest one, since Our Lady traveled somewhere between 80 and 100 miles from Nazareth to the Hill Country of Judea.  In fact, as I was praying the rosary yesterday, it struck me how this celebration of Our Lord’s Real Presence is a joyful mystery, which actually encompasses all the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. 

Annunciation –   In one sense, the Eucharist is a continuation of the mystery of the Incarnation. God, in an extraordinary and mysterious way,  comes to His beloved children, to be physically with them and among them.  This happened first at the Incarnation and it happens every time the Eucharist is confected at Mass.  God’s love compels Him to do something which is beyond our comprehension, and just as His Divinity was hidden from us during His earthly life, so too, It is veiled behind the forms of bread and wine in the Holy Eucharist.

Visitation – Our Lady takes the love which God has lavished on her, His own Divine Love, the fruit of which is Jesus, and shares that with her cousin Elizabeth. Our Lady, from a young age according to tradition, has been consecrated to God.  Her complete self-giving to God bears this fruit: she is completely other-oriented; she takes Jesus to her cousin and serves her both spiritually and physically, by lending her care and support as she nears childbirth.  As I mentioned above, her long trek to Elizabeth’s home was the first Corpus Christi procession.  Just as today Jesus is hidden in the Blessed Sacrament, at the Visitation He was also hidden in Mary’s womb, although by the power of the Holy Spirit and faith Elizabeth and John both recognized the presence of their Savior.

Nativity – We are present at Calvary, stepping out of time and into that eternal moment, each time we attend Mass. But the Crucifixion began at the Incarnation and is visible to us first at the Nativity of Our Lord. Each Christmas we are reminded of the link between the birth of Our Lord and His passion and death. The wood of the manger presages the wood of the Cross. Not to mention, the word manger means “to eat” and, as Our Lord is first laid in the trough where animals are fed we see a prefigurement of the Eucharist, in which He gives Himself to us as food. He was born in Bethlehem, which means “House of Bread.”  It was at the Birth of Our Lord that He was first looked upon and adored.  Each time we adore Him in the Eucharist we are joining with Mary and Joseph in that first “Holy Hour”.

Presentation – The infant Jesus was presented in the Temple by Mary and Joseph. On Corpus Christi He is presented to the world, though it is a hidden presence behind the appearance of bread, as we process with Him through the streets.

Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple – Just as Mary and Joseph were so relieved to find Him after a stressful search, we find Him always in the tabernacle.  Jesus waits for us there, just as He waited for his Mother and foster-father to come to Him in the temple.  We are blessed because for us He is never “lost”, He is always present and He waits patiently for us to “find” Him.

The overflowing love of the Church for her Eucharistic Lord gives us this Solemnity of Hans_Or_Jakob_StrubxxThe_VisitationCorpus Christi, as well as all of the Eucharistic devotions which have arisen over the lifetime of the Church. All of Her Eucharistic devotions are a response to the extraordinary love of God for us which compels Him to remain with us until the end of time. Our Lady was a beautiful mirror of God’s love, reflecting back to Him in a most perfect and pure way His own Divine Love.  May Our Lord find a reflection of His love, His abiding love which abides with us in the Blessed Sacrament, reflected back to Him by our loving devotion to His Eucharistic Presence. Let us ask Our Lady, the first monstrance, the first Corpus Christi procession, the first to adore the Word made flesh, to help us grow in our love for Jesus truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Pentecost Novena – Ninth Day

Ninth Day: The Fruits of the Holy Ghost

 

Thou, on those who evermore
Thee confess and Thee adore,
In Thy sevenfold gifts, descend:
Give them comfort when they die;
Give them life with Thee on high;
Give them joy which never ends. Amen.

The gifts of the Holy Ghost perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Ghost, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Ghost. These fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.
Continue reading

Pentecost Novena – Eighth Day

Eighth Day: The Gift of Wisdom
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray!

Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written “all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.” It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Savior: “Take up thy cross and follow Me, for My yoke is sweet, and My burden light.”  Continue reading