Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity

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 At the Last Supper Our Lord prayed to His Father that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.  This petition, part of His high priestly prayer, should be on our lips as well.  The scattered sheep, divided from the Church which Christ established, are just as dear to Our Lord’s heart as those who are in the fold.  Today begins the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity, begun by the Servant of God Fr. Paul Wattson (Paul of Graymoor) over one hundred years ago, who at the time was still an Episcopalian, although on the path to full communion with Christ’s Church.  On the centenary of the birth of the Unity Octave, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the origins of this prayer, which spread throughout the Church and the world. You can find that address here.
 Join us, and people around the world, in asking Our Lord to unite all people in His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
 THE OCTAVE PRAYERS

ANTIPHON: That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, 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.

[Here is brought to mind the intention for the day’s prayer.]

January 18: For the return of the “other sheep” to the One Fold of our Lord Jesus Christ.

January 19: For the return of the Eastern Orthodox Christians to communion with the Apostolic See.

January 20: For the return of the Anglicans to the authority of the Vicar of Christ.

January 21: For the return of all Protestants throughout the world to the unity of the Catholic Church.

January 22: That Christians in America (or, in my own country) may be one, in union with the Chair of Saint Peter.

January 23: That lapsed Catholics will return to the Sacraments of the Church.

January 24: That the Jewish people will be converted to the Catholic Faith.

January 25: That missionary zeal will conquer the world for Christ.

Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst to thine Apostles, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: regard not our sins, but the faith of thy Church; and grant to her peace and unity according to thy will; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

The American Madonna

OL Atonement

We must understand by virtue of our new birth into the Kingdom of God that the Blessed Virgin is our real mother and not merely a mother that has just adopted us. By baptism we are incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ and by that process of incorporation we are also brought into relationship with the Blessed Virgin, which is intrinsically similar to the relationship which Christ has to the Blessed Virgin as his mother. The Blessed Virgin is not our stepmother. She is our real mother as far as are the Sons and Daughters of the Atonement and members of the Mystical Body of Christ.               -Fr. Paul of Graymoor

On this Independence Day we wanted to remind you of a uniquely American title of Our Lady, one which is lesser known, but no less important, than many of her more well-known titles.  Devotion to the Blessed Mother as Our Lady of the Atonement began with an Episcopalian priest, Fr. Paul Wattson, who was inspired to found a religious congregation devoted to the work of unity, reconciling men with God, particularly by leading those outside the sheepfold home to Christ’s Church.  With the help of Mother Lurana Mary White they founded the Society of the Atonement in the late 1800s.  They eventually came to realize the they couldn’t wait for the entire Episcopalian church to reunite with the Chair of Peter, and so, they and the members of the society made their profession of faith in 1909 and were received into the Catholic Church.  They brought with them this devotion to Our Lady of the Atonement, whose feast day they celebrated on July 9th.

In Rome She is known as “the American Madonna”.  She is Our Lady suffering with her Son at the foot of the Cross.  She wears a red mantle to symbolize the Precious Blood of Jesus, the Blood which makes us at-one with God.  The red mantle is worn over a blue tunic, and together with her white veil, the colors remind one of the American flag.  Independence Day always falls in the middle of the novena leading up to her feast day, and so it is yet another reminder of her special connection with our nation.

May Our Lady of the Atonement, Mother of Unity, protect and guide our country, that we may truly be one nation under God, made at-one with Him by the Precious Blood of Jesus.

 

 

Getting her attention

If you want to get Our Lady’s attention, I have found it most effective to call upon her using one of her beautiful, yet lesser known, titles.  Today is the feast day of Our Lady of the Atonement, a unique title, which has its origins outside the Catholic Church, and a most appropriate title for these times, because of its ties to Christian unity.  Devotion to Our Lady of the Atonement  began with Fr. Paul of Graymoor and Mother Lurana, the Anglo-Catholic founders of the Society of the Atonement, the first to call upon Our Lady by this title.  When they, along with the members of the Society were received into the Church in 1909, it was an historic day: the first time a group of converts had been received corporately into the Church since the reformation.  Fr. Paul and Mother Lurana sought to heal the wound in Christ’s Mystical Body which had been caused by Henry VIII’s schism, and Our Lady of the Atonement, who seeks to make all people At-One with her Son, was their greatest weapon and their greatest advocate in bringing souls back to Christ’s Church.  And she is still our greatest intercessor today, at a time when Christians need more than anything to be at-one, need to be unified, in order to fight the culture of death that works so hard to quench the light of truth.  The only way we can truly be united is when we are united in truth.  Our Lady always leads us to her Son, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Today let us ask Our Lady of the Atonement to keep our hearts ever open to truth, and ever willing to root out from our hearts and souls those things which keep us from being united with Jesus.

If you want to learn more about this beautiful title of Our Lady, click here to listen to last week’s episode of A Good Habit. Fr. Christopher Phillips was with us to talk about Our Lady of the Atonement, Fr. Paul and Mother Lurana, and Our Lady’s role in his own conversion.  If you frequent Fr. Phillips’ blog you are probably already well versed in all things Atonement, since he blogs about her frequently – do an image search on Our Lady of the Atonement, and most images relating to her come from his blog.