O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

You Receive as You Give

"Now this I say: He who soweth sparingly, shall also reap sparingly: and he who soweth in blessings, shall also reap blessings. Every one as he hath determined in his heart, not with sadness, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."-from today's Apostle Reading (2 Cor 9:6-11) in the Byzantine Rite.

Why should we be afraid to give? He who gives much to God, receives much in return. The more difficulty through which we give, the more we reap in return. So let us give joyfully and give everything to God for the more we give to Him, the more we shall receive from Him.

Our Blessed Lord tells us something similar to what St. Paul says: "Give, and it shall be given to you: good measure and pressed down and shaken together and running over shall they give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you shall mete withal, it shall be measured to you again."-Lk 6:38

Friday, September 28, 2012

We Are Living In the Dark

"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me."-(Mt 16:24) Communion Verse for the Feast of King St. Wenceslaus today in the Latin Rite.

God leads us through darkness to bring us to the light; through suffering to bring us to Paradise. God leads us through suffering because it is a penance for our sins. God leads us to Paradise because it is that for which we were created. Both are expressions of His Justice.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Adoration and Patient Love

The Love of God needs no consolations or pleasures to survive. Divine Love gives itself regardless of what it receives because the salvation of the beloved is all that matters and it refuses to be consoled by anything except the salvation of the beloved. Divine Love can survive for years and years in the worst suffering because it gives itself to God and refuses to be satisfied but by the beloved's salvation. This we can see in this video below promoting Eucharistic Adoration. Christ, the Bridegroom, is the One who exhibits the Love of God. He gives Himself on the cross, which is made present in the Eucharist, regardless of who, if anyone, returns His love and gives themselves to God. He sacrifices Himself for His Bride the Church and is satisfied only by Her sanctification. He makes salvation available to all men through the Church. He makes salvation available to all men through the Church, but He makes salvation available to all men through the Church. He waits through time, regardless of how long, in patience giving Himself to the Father to sanctify His Bride. He gives His entire self to Her, even His Very Body, which She receives in the Eucharist.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bring Us To Thy Purity

Bring us to thy Son's purity, which thou dost show in thy
flesh so perfectly, O Ever-Virgin Mother of God

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Great Rewards from Little Efforts

Miraculous Draught of Fish
Byzantine Rite
17th Sunday after Pentecost
Gospel: Lk 5:1-11

A little bit of prayer and penance offered to God results in great blessings. The more you give your life to God, the more glorious He will make you in His Love. The more humble you are in realizing that you don't deserve such blessings, the more blessings you receive.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wash Us O Lord

Show us O Lord Thy mercy and grant us Thy salvation.1 We see how Thou hast forgiven others. We see the miraculous healings and conversions Thou hast worked in others. We now beg Thee for a small share of this same mercy for we have exceedingly degraded our souls, our flesh, and our name in the most foul and scandalous sins. We know that when Thou dost absolve sins in confession, Thou dost not only destroy them from the present, but also the past. They are destroyed completely. They never happened. The memory thereof which remains is in effect only a nightmare, for the sin never took place. It no longer used to exist. It is no longer in our past and cannot be used against us. Any claim then that the sins exist, even as only a part of the past, is a delusion and a lie for the sins have at that time been destroyed in confession, for Thou art the Lord of Time through the ages of ages. Amen.

1Ps 84:8

Sunday, September 16, 2012

We Adore Thee O Christ

We adore Thee O Christ and we bless Thee, for by Thy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Relic of the Holy Cross at the Basilica of
the Holy Cross in Rome

Enable us with speech O Master that we might praise Thee, for we are chained and restricted by our sins. By sinning we have struck ourselves dumb, but we still see the greatness of Thy love which Thou dost still reveal to us so we beg Thee to release us from the bonds of our sins that we might give ourselves to Thee. Give us perseverance against these difficulties that weigh us down and separate us from Thee; these difficulties which we have brought upon ourselves by foolishly living as the world lives in its empty life of sin. Through these difficulties Thou dost still reveal Thy love to us and still dost call us to Thyself despite their massive and overwhelming size which to us is a mountain but to thee is but a small clod of earth. Break these bonds of sin that we might praise Thee and give ourselves to Thee for we wish to dwell in Thee restored to immaculate purity and nourished by Thy love.

Friday, September 14, 2012

We Bow to Thy Cross O Lord and Glorify Thy Holy Ressurection

Fill us with Thy mercy that we might dwell in Thee. 

Thou didst sacrifice Thyself upon the Cross O Bridegroom but we have defiled ourselves in sin and are incapable of even providing for ourselves.

Fill us with Thy mercy that we might dwell in Thee.

We do not deserve to have Thee because we lost ourselves to sin, but we still desire to dwell in Thee so we give ourselves to Thy Mercy. Remove the law of sin from over us and heal the stroke of our wound so we can give ourselves to Thee.

Fill us with Thy mercy that we might dwell in Thee.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Meditations on the Holy Rosary

Joyful Mysteries
1. Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary -We pray that sinner will be obedient to God's will for their lives.
2. Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary -We pray that Our Lord will visit sinners.
3. Nativity of Our Lord -We Pray that Our Lord will make His dwelling with sinners.
4. Presentation of Our Lord -We pray that sinners will present themselves to the Lord in Confession.
5. Finding of Our Lord in the Temple -We pray that sinners will find Our Lord in the Tabernacle

Sorrowful Mysteries
1. Agony in the Garden of Olives - We contemplate the Divine Bridegroom suffering under the full knowledge of the life of sin of His Bride, the Church.
2. Flagellation of the Lord - We contemplate the Bridegroom suffering under the lashes; the weights on the whips digging into Him like the sins of His Bride.
3. Crowning of the Lord - We contemplate the Bridegroom in full nuptial regalia; His wedding crown is become a torture device, the sins of His Bride piercing Him like a thousand needles on His Head. His scepter, His symbol of authority over her, is become a symbol of mockery and rejection.
4. The Lord Carries His Cross - We contemplate the Bridegroom suffering under the weight of the cross, which bears down on Him like the life of sin of His Bride.
5. Crucifixion and Death of the Lord - We contemplate the Bridegroom giving Himself to the Father to sanctify His Bride. He gives His entire Self to Her, even His Very Body, which She receives in the Eucharist.

Glorious Mysteries
1. Resurrection of the Lord - We pray that sinners will rise from the death of sin.
2. Ascension of the Lord - We pray that sinners will ascend to the highest levels of prayer.
3. Decent of the Holy Ghost - We pray that sinners will be set on fire by the Love of God.
4. Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - We pray that sinners will be taken up to Heaven.
5. Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary - We pray that sinners will be obedient to the authority of the queen.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Royal Wedding in Washington, DC

With thanks to Rorate, there comes news of a Royal Wedding in Washington, DC this past Saturday on the Feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God. Well, it was an Imperial Wedding to be precise. Archduke Imre of Austria, great-grandson of Blessed Karl, last Emperor of Austria (whose feast day is his wedding day btw, 21 October) married Kathleen Walker, who is from Washington, at Old St. Mary's in D.C. A Solemn High Mass followed the traditional ceremony. The priest was Msgr. Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington, the deacon was Fr. Gregory Thompson and the subdeacon was Fr. Edwin Perez, both of the Diocese of Arlington. H.E. Paul Loverde, Bishop of Arlington, was in choir and presented the couple with an Apostolic Blessing from H.H. Benedict XVI. The photographer's coverage can be found here

Another photographer posted photos of the royalty in attendance here. Luxembourg was especially well represented as the young archduke is related to them via his mother. His Royal Highness the Duke of Braganca and Prince Royal of Portugal was present. That photographer is quite picky about his copyrights so I'll have to settle for a direct link to the best photo of the Duke of Braganca instead of the picture itself. Here however are another set of photos:

We Have Another Penitent

Today on the Byzantine Rite is the Feast of St. Theodora of Alexandria, penitent. You can read her story in detail here and more accounts here. I love discovering new saints and discovering a penitent is a treasure. I have a great devotion to penitents. I have already written about St. Mary Magdalene, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Pelagia of Antioch, and St. Margaret of Cortona. I find it interesting how all the penitents became nuns after their conversion. Sts. Mary Magdalene, Mary of Egypt and Pelagia of Antioch specifically became hermits. St. Margaret of Cortona founded an order of nuns and St. Theodora, hiding her identity, also became a nun.

St. Theodora was a young married woman who was tempted by a rich man to commit adultery with him after he was in turn tempted by her youthful beauty. Unsuccessful, he bribed a harlot to convince Theodora to lie with him. She told Theodora that any sin committed in secret was not seen by God and didn't count. Convinced by this lie, Theodora committed adultery with the rich suitor. Coming to her senses, she realized the malice of her sin and beat herself furiously and without mercy. Her conscience tortured her as she tortured her body, so she went to a revered abbess at a local monastery to relate her tale and find some relief. The abbess told her of God's mercy and St. Mary Magdalene who washed Our Blessed Lord's feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and anointed them with spikenard. Resolving to do penance for her sin, she decided to disguise her sinful identity and enter a monastery of men, so that no one would find her.

The abbot denied her entrance to test her resolve and allowed her to enter after she spent the night at the gate. "Theodore" amazed the other monks by her strict observance of fasting and all night prayer. After eight years, on one occasion she happened to be sent on an errand to buy provisions, being instructed to stay at a certain monastery if there was a delay and she needed a place to stay. A young woman was also staying at the guest house and not realizing that the monk was really a nun, tried to seduce "Theodore". Not surprisingly unsuccessful, she went and seduced another guest, one who really was a man, and became pregnant. The young harlot's father questioned her about the identity of his grandson's father and she claimed it was Monk Theodore. Theodora's abbot initially didn't believe the accusation, but when the child was forced on the monastery, St. Theodora was expelled in disgrace. She accepted this trial as further expiation for her adultery years before, raising this adopted child in a hut near the monastery.

After seven years the abbot re-admitted Theodora to the monastery upon the pleading of the monks. She lived a hermit in the monastery with the child. After a further two years, following a private revelation to the abbot, she was allowed to once again live as a part of the community and soon her sanctity became apparent to the other monks. Before she died she instructed her step-son, "to obey the abbot, to preserve tranquility, to be meek and without malice, to avoid obscenity and silliness, to love non-covetousness, and not to neglect their communal prayer." One last time she asked God forgiveness for her adultery and passed peacefully while praying with her step-son.

In a second revelation, the abbot learned Monk Theodore's true identity and to remove any shame and ill-repute relating to the bastard child, revealed her bosom to prove she was a woman and not the father of the child. Now that it was known she was doing penance for adultery, news of her death reached her former husband, who himself entered the monastery and the step-son too became a monk of the same monastery and eventually its abbot. Now it will be asked, if she was to expiate her sin of adultery, why didn't she just return to her husband and be faithful? Why would God allow her to live as a nun instead of being faithful to her husband? Isn't that just more infidelity? "For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are my ways exalted above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts." (Is 55:8-9) Now it seems clear that God wanted both of them to enter monasteries and that their marriage was something spoken between them on their own accord, independent from God's will for them. God gave them suffering so that they could expiate their sins and the sins of others and brought them each to a monastery on His own time because that was His will for them. We can try as we might to build up our own lives according to our wills, but God always gets His way...

Dismissal hymns from the Divine Office (roughly equate to the collects of the Latin Rite):

Troparion: (Tone 8)
In thee the image was preserved with exactness, O Mother; for taking up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ, and by thy deeds thou didst teach us to overlook the flesh, for it passeth away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Wherefore, O righteous Theodora, thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.

Kontakion: (Tone 2)
With fasting didst thou consume thy body utterly; with vigilant prayer didst thou entreat thy Fashioner, that thou shouldst receive the complete forgiveness of the sin thou hadst wrought; which receiving in truth, thou didst mark out the path of repentance for us all.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Bridegroom Gives Himself to the Father

Icon of the Nymphios (Bridegroom)

Come O Sinner and behold how Christ the Bridegroom sacrifices Himself to the Father for thy sake. He is both priest and victim, sacrificing Himself to bring thee to Heaven. He gives Himself to the Father to fill thee with the Father's love. Thou shalt return His love. Filled with Him, thou dost become a part of Him, and as a part of Him, thou dost rest in His Heart.

Christ gives Himself to the Father as a mediator; giving thee the love of the Father and giving thee to the Father that thou mightest enter in Heaven. Behold then how the earthly Sacrament of Marriage is only an icon of this mystical union betwixt Christ and His Church. The bridegroom gives himself to God to fill his bride with Divine Love and bring her to heaven. Receiving him, she gives herself to God through her bridegroom to return his love and get him to Heaven. Christ gives His love to them, and receiving it, they return His love that they might rest in Him for eternity. Their union is but a microcosm inside the union of Christ and His Church, imitating them from within them, that they too might enter Heaven.

Give thyself to Christ that He might make thee pure, cleansing thee of thy sins such that thou hast never given thyself to any sin whatsoever. Give thyself to the Immaculate Mother of God that she who was truly a virgin after childbearing might bring thee into her purity. Give thyself to the Father through the Divine Bridegroom so that the His love for thee might be complete.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

We Sing to Thee O Theotokos

"Genesis tis Theotokou"
Birth of the Mother of God
We sing to thee O Theotokos on thy birthday. On this joyous day we grieve for those of us drowning in lives of sin, but also rejoice for God has given us so Immaculate an Intercessor, who dost gloriously crush their sins under thy virginal foot. We beg thee O Theotokos to raise the sinner up to thy purity, O thou who art truly a virgin after childbearing. Raise the sinner to purity for it is not right for the Love of Thy Son to dwell in a vessel made impure by sin, which prompted the Lord to create thee in thy mother's womb as a pure vessel for His Son. Nor is it right for Thy Son's love to go un-returned, so we beg thee know to raise the sinner out of the defilement of worldly pleasures that the sinner might be a pure vessel for the Flesh of Thy Son the Divine Bridegroom, and receiving His Flesh, become a part of Him and dwell in His Heart, so wounded by sin. Do not fail us O Theotokos, whose purity dost overpower the greatest of sins!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Power of Prayer-Russia in WWI

H/T to Fr. Blake:

My Russian is weak (I know mostly prayers, both in Church Slavonic and the vernacular), but I still know enough to figure out that they are praying throughout the whole video, not just when they kneel before the icon. It is noteworthy that the two ships were just as close to the mines, but only the one who prayed survived. The movie is The Admiral, which takes place in World War I.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Modern Day Harlot Becomes a Penitent

Former Playboy Playmate Searches For Noah’s Ark, Prays the Rosary “Every Night” With Her Kids-CatholicVote.org

Hopefully she will come to be numbered among St. Mary Magdalene, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Pelagia of Antioch and St. Margaret of Cortona. Pray for more of these conversions. The formation in the faith in so called "catholic" schools is so poor that a worldly life of sin is inevitable. If we don't teach our children to fear God, the world will teach them to sin and they (like this lady) will only learn when it is too late after they have already destroyed their lives by living as the world lives.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Lord of Mercy and Lord of Love

We deserve death, destruction, and the loss of all we hold dear because the sins we have committed O Lord, but Thou dost deserve to hold us in Thy Heart in purity for Thou art Almighty God. Let the blessings to which Thou art entitled overrule the damnations to which we art entitled for we demanded to take charge of our lives and live in our pleasures on our own terms and refused to surrender ourselves to Thee and live in Thy love on Thy terms. We do not deserve Thy mercy, O Lover of Mankind, but Thou dost deserve to have us in Thy love. We have broken Thy Heart by our sins, give us Thy love to raise us out of our sins that we might dwell in Thee.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Mother of Eternal Light

Icon of the Theotokos Directress, known in Latin
terms as Our Lady of Light, who directs us to her
Son, the Light of the World. 

The Eastern Churches, in the Akathist of Thanksgiving chant: "When the lightning flash has lit up the feasting-hall, how feeble seems the light of the lamps." When you have a small LED light in a dark room in the middle of the night, the light seems very bright, for it is surrounded by nothing other than more of itself. But when the same light is lit at the brightest point of the noonday sun, there is so much glare of the sun on the bulb that none of the bulb's own light can be seen.

So it is with human emotions and worldly pleasures versus Divine Love. Sin on it's own seems good when it is surrounded only by more of itself away from God. But when the sin is held up to Christ the Light of the World, the light of sin is so insignificant that it cannot even be seen-so radically more intense is the light of Divine Love over the sin of the world. It is a difference that can only be appreciated when you have seen both. Show someone the glory of Divine Love and once they have considered it seriously, they will see themselves as unworthy because they degraded themselves in such horrible sins. You don't even need to mention someone's sins to get them to repent. 

"And the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days: in the day when the Lord shall bind up the wound of his people, and shall heal the stroke of their wound."-Isaias 30:26