Prayer Resources for All Souls Day

As you probably know, today is All Souls Day. It is the day that the Church dedicates to praying for the souls in Purgatory. In keeping with that intention, I thought I would share some links to very beautiful prayers for the Holy Souls.

What is All Souls Day?

Chaplet for the Poor Souls in Purgatory

Prayer for the Deceased

May God bless you and always keep you in His loving arms.

Prayer Resources for the Holy Souls

Why All Saints Day is Important

November 1 is All Saints Day and a Holy Day of Obligation. It is a glorious day and one of my favorite Solemnities. Unfortunately, it is basically overshadowed by Halloween (which is technically “All Hallow’s Eve,” the vigil of All Saint’s day). However, All Saint’s day is a solemnity and a holy day of obligation for a reason: it is a very important feast for us Catholics.

Image by Fra Angelico (1445-1455) via Wikipedia, CCO Public Domain

Some Background: History of All Saints Day

All Saints Day is a very OLD feast day, dating back to the beginning of Christianity. Think back to the catacombs. They were created to bury and honor the martyrs who were killed during the persecutions. As more and more people were martyred for the faith, the celebration expanded to include everyone, known and unknown. Urban IV included the feast to “to supply any deficiencies in the faithful’s celebration of saints’ feasts during the year” (New Advent).

Later, Pope Gregory IV extended the celebration to all saints, martyred or no. He also enjoined the clergy to celebrate the feast every year on November 1. It has been celebrated on that day every since.

Why All Saint’s Day is Important to You

All Saint’s Day reminds us that the journey of our lives lead to heaven! All those saints who have “fought the good fight,” canonized  or not, inspire us and encourage us to keep up the fight ourselves. Life certainly is a fight at times.

We live in a world where wrong is right and right is wrong. Faith in God and in the divine is all but lost and we face so many struggles and obstacles we wonder if it is all worth it. IT IS!

We can look to the saints who have come before us and be strengthened knowing that others have made it before us and we can make it too! Keep up the faith and trust in God.

Celebration Suggestions

Besides Mass, which is obligatory, All Saint’s Day is a great day to pray the Litany of the Saints. This is such a beautiful prayer. The sung version of the prayer is so lovely, too.

Another way to celebrate this solemnity is to learn about some saints you aren’t familiar with. There have been many newly canonized saints over the last few years, so why not start with one of those?

If you have little ones, have an All Saint’s Party! My son’s homeschool co-op has an All Saint’s Party every year and it is so much fun! Each child gives three clues about the saint he or she is dressed up as and the other children have to guess. You can even offer prizes to the winners if you wanted.

I hope and pray that you take some time to go deeper in your understanding of his most wonderful solemnity!

God bless,

 

More Resources

thoughtCo

New Advent

Precious Blood of Christ

Yikes! Before July hit, I remembered that this devotion was coming up. Then, July started, and continued, and I just remembered yesterday – nearly halfway through the month – that it is the month of the Precious Blood of Jesus. :/

Precious Blood of Christ

Image by seostar (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

It is such a lovely devotion and it is not too late to participate. Here is my original post about the devotion that offers a little history and some suggestions in honoring Our Lord’s suffering.

The Holy Childhood of Jesus

Did you know that January has always been dedicated to the Holy Childhood of Jesus? It is a devotion that dates back to the 300’s AD – and even earlier.

I confess that up until a few years ago, I never had any particular devotion to the Childhood of Jesus; however, I have a statue of the Infant of Prague that my Aunt Pat gave me years ago. She always said that if I kept a dollar bill under the statue I’d always have money. (Is that because there’s always a dollar under the statue or because the Lord is watching over me, or a little bit of both?!)

There isn’t a lot of information about devotion to the Childhood of Jesus; however, if you’d like to explore the history and practices of devotion to the Childhood of Jesus (and the Infant of Prague), you can check out the sites here, here and here.

What We Can Learn from Devotion to the Childhood of Jesus

It is a deep and tremendous thing what God has done for us. He sent His only son, Jesus, to save us and show us the way to Him and to heaven. Crazier still, God sent His son to us as a baby. A baby! A humble, helpless baby. Jesus, human in all respects, grew into childhood and teenhood and adulthood. Truly amazing.

As we reflect on the childhood of Jesus we learn humility, obedience, patience, and love. Humility, obedience and patience are not particularly popular in today’s world. It wants what it wants and wants it now! But, it doesn’t always work that way. Through devotion to the Childhood of Jesus we can learn to see the world with a new perspective and understanding of God’s ways – at least in a very small way. Devotion to the Childhood can be (and is) an important part of our spiritual life. I hope that you will take some time to learning about this devotion and consider adding it into your life.

Prayer to the Infant Jesus

“O Jesus, Prince of Peace and King of the Universe, you chose to humble yourself and come into the world, not as a powerful ruler, but as a helpless infant; grant us the grace of humility and gentleness before you and our brothers and sisters. Grant, too, O Lord, that we may always strive to achieve the virtue and innocence of your own Holy Childhood. Instill in us a growing faith you, O Lord, and the strength to resist temptation in a world which so widely rejects you. Look upon us with compassion and forgive us our sins. Fill our hearts with kindness and understanding, especially for children, the aged and those we dislike or who dislike us.

O Jesus, who so loved children that you admonished us, “Unless you become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven,” grant us a child-like faith and purity of heart. Give us the grace not only to pray fervently, but to help spread your Gospel by deed as well as word. Amen.” (From Franciscan Mission Associates pamphlet)

(Found the prayer here.)

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Exaltation of the Holy Cross

September 14 is the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. I think the following scripture (the 2nd reading from the feast day’s mass) from Philippians 2:6-11 sums up this feast perfectly:

Image by calibra (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Image by chaddyfynn (2016) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Though He was in the From of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at.

Rather, He took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men.

He was known to be of human estate, and it was thus that He humbled himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross!

Because of this, God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name above every other name,

So that at Jesus’ name every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father:

JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!

I cannot even begin to fathom the awesomeness of God’s mercy in giving us His son, Jesus, to suffer, die and rise for our salvation. It is simply mind-boggling. What an amazing love God has for us! What lengths He went to in order to assure our place in heaven and to bring us into relationship with Him!

May we today, and every day, remember that great love, especially when we go through struggles and difficulties. There is no suffering that we go through that will compare to the sufferings of Jesus. He knows the feelings of desolation, despair, and agony. And because of that, He is able to assist us and be with us in our suffering. Let us try to live in trust and hope knowing God will always be there for us!

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Devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus

Traditionally, July is dedicated to honoring the Precious Blood of Jesus. It’s a devotion I knew nothing about until a few years ago. While we were visiting the Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, GA one day, my husband picked up this book. The book contains some beautiful prayers and it got me wanting to learn more about the devotion to the Precious Blood.

Image by seostar (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Image by seostar (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

During my search, I discovered what the Church teaches about the devotion to the Precious Blood and I learned a little about the history of this devotion. I also found information here and here about the devotion and discovered that there’s even an association dedicated to the Precious Blood.

Additionally, I came across this website that has suggestions for activities for the Precious Blood. There are a lot of options available on the site; however, as I always do, I plan to keep it simple. My plan consists of making an effort to go to daily Mass more often, praying the Litany of the Most Precious Blood twice a week, and maybe a craft or two.

In spite of all the summer traveling that often goes on during July, I encourage you do something to honor Our Lord and the suffering He endured for our salvation – no matter how small. For more information and resources go here, or here, or here.

Of course, as always, I also invite you to share your activities we us. Leave a link in the comments!

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Come Holy Spirit!

(The Feast of Pentecost is this Sunday – May 15 – so I am reposting this because it is always good to remind ourselves of the greats gifts of the Holy Spirit!)

If you have been following the novena to the Holy Spirit for Pentecost, you know we have been praying for the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. As a sort of conclusion to the novena, and for those who didn’t participate in the novena, here is a summary of the gifts of the spirit and scripture verses to pray over as you prepare for this great feast of the Church.

Holy Spirit Fire Dove

(Image in public domain)

— 1 —

Wisdom. The gift of Wisdom gives us the ability to recognize God in all things around us.

For in her [wisdom] is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, agile, clear unstained, certain, not baneful, loving the good, keen, unhampered…For Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion and she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity.” Wisdom 7:23-24

— 2 —

Understanding. The gift of Understanding helps us recognize truth and how to follow in God’s ways.

Then will you understand the fear of the Lord; the knowledge of God you will find; for the Lord gives wisdom, from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:5-6

— 3 —

Counsel. The gift of counsel gives us right judgement. We are able to clearly see and understand the difference between right and wrong.

I will instruct you and show you the way you should walk, give you counsel and watch over you.” Psalm 32:8

— 4 —

Fortitude. The gift of Fortitude gives us the courage we need to continue our faith journey, even in the face of trials and difficulties.

I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” John 16:33

— 5 —

Knowledge. The gift of knowledge helps us know who God is.

Even if I am untrained in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.” 2 Corinthians 11:6

— 6 —

Piety. The gift of Piety gives us reverence and respect for all things holy, particularly God and His Holy Church.

Therefore, we who are receiving the unshakable kingdom should have gratitude, with which we should offer worship, pleasing to God in reverence and awe. For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12: 28-29

— 7 —

Fear of the Lord. The gift of the Fear of the Lord gives us an understanding of the greatness and awesomeness of God.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; prudent are all who live by it. Your praise endures forever.” Psalm 111:10

I pray that each of you filled with every gift and blessing from the Lord on this Pentecost Sunday. God bless.

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(Scripture verses taken from the New American Bible, St. Joseph Edition; 1970 by the Confraternity of Christina Doctrine (CCD), Washington, DC)

Why do Catholics Celebrate Ash Wednesday?

For many non-Catholics (and many NEW Catholics) Ash Wednesday can seem a little strange. Why would anyone want to walk around with ashes on their head all day? And many cradle Catholics have been going to mass and getting ashes every year without understanding why, as well.

Why Do Catholics Celebrate Ash Wednesday

Image by Balaska (2009) via Wikipedia, CCO Public Domain

What is the significance of Ash Wednesday?

Ash Wednesday is a day of prayer and repentance. We fast, we abstain from meat and we get ashes as a reminder of our human frailty. It is a day to remember the spiritual reality that surrounds us; we remember that our earthly life is only part of the journey. We will die and our bodies will “return to dust.”

Ash Wednesday is a gift. Yes, a gift. This day of repentance is a gift because it gives us the opportunity to take stock of our lives. It is almost like a “spiritual New Year” where we can assess our relationship with the Lord.

  • Have we grown in our relationship with the Lord over this past year?
  • Have I grown lax or lukewarm?
  • In what areas of my life do I need to change in order to become the person God wants me to be?

From this reflection, we can make “resolutions” or a plan of action for how we will spend our Lent this year. Instead of focusing on giving up coffee or sweets or whatever (which are good things in themselves), we can give up those habits or sins which are holding us back. Or we can make a plan to learn more about our faith or pray the scriptures more often.

Why Ashes?

There is a long history of the use of ashes as a sign of repentance. I encourage you to read the History of Ash Wednesday over at American Catholic.

As regards to the rite of ashes, it is very simple. We go up to the priest or whomever is distributing the ashes. He makes the sign of the cross (well, it should be a cross!) on our forehead while saying “Man you are dust and to dust your shall return” or a similar phrases. This phrase comes from Genesis 3:19

“By the sweat of your face shall you get bread to eat,

Until you return to the ground,

from which you were taken;

For you are dirt, and to dirt you shall return.”

Our Obligation

Ash Wednesday is not a holiday of obligation. We are not required to go to mass, but it is strongly recommended. And why wouldn’t we want to go if we are able?

We are obligated to abstain from meat and to fast today. The fasting requirement consists of one full meal and two smaller meals that equal one meal. No snacking or eating between meals. Of course, beverages are allowed.  Everyone over the age of 14 is required to abstain from meat and everyone between the ages of 18-60 are required to fast. (See Canon law 1250-1252) I think pregnant women are exempt, but not sure.

Related Links

Here are a couple of links for further reading.

New Advent

About.com

Fallible Blogma

I pray that today and your whole Lenten journey be a blessed and grace-filled time for you and your family!

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Ten Ways to Get The Most Out of Lent

(repost)

As you know this week is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. I *LOVE* Lent. I do. Really! Lots of us cradle Catholics find the fasting and sacrifices of Lent a drudgery. Others ignore Lent altogether. Not me. I see Lent as a mini New Year. A new beginning and another chance to re-charge the batteries in my relationship with the Lord.

10 Ways to Get the Most out of Lent

Here are some ideas for you to spend your time this Lent. (Btw, if you read my “Making Advent Meaningful” post, you’ll notice some of the suggestions are the same. That’s because there are some things – like the Mass and rosary – that are worth being reminded of again. 🙂 )

1. Daily Mass. Since the Eucharist the the “source and summit of our faith”, it stands to reason that daily mass should be on top of our Lenten “to-do” list!

2. Adoration. Next to the mass, adoration is the next best thing – especially if you are unable to make it daily mass for whatever reason. More and more parishes are offering at least monthly or weekly exposition and adoration (and some have perpetual adoration) of the Blessed Sacrament, so try and snag a half hour each week if you can!

3. Stations of the cross. The Stations of the Cross is a beautiful way to remember the passion of the Lord. Again, most parishes have Stations of the Cross once or twice each Friday of Lent. If you can’t make it to church, you can get some beautiful pamphlets for next to nothing and pray they them at home with your family.

4. Forgive. Through Jesus, our sins are forgiven and so that we may receive mercy. One of the best (and hardest!) ways to show gratitude for the Lord’s goodness is to forgive those who have hurt us – especially if the transgression was grievous. Just as hard, if  not even harder, is forgiving ourselves. Or sometimes we hold on to grudges and anger, even when we can’t remember how a particular person has hurt us! If you see yourself in any of these scenarios, maybe you can pray the Lord opens your heart to forgiving someone who has hurt you, or praying that He will help you forgive yourself? Even the prayer that He helps you to WANT to forgive would be a great start…

5. Pray the Liturgy of the Hours. The morning and evening prayers of the Liturgy of the hours are always beautiful, but especially during the Lenten season.  It is the official prayer of the church, and when you pray the Liturgy of the Hours, you are united will all the faithful around the world who are praying it with you!

6. Go to confession. It’s called the Sacrament of Reconciliation now, but whatever you call it, there’s no better way (besides the mass!) to prepare for Easter. There will be (or should be) many Penance services around your diocese, so you should be able to find one that fits in your schedule.

7. Watch the Passion of the Christ. Yes, watching the Passion of the Christ is painful. It’s in your face. It renders us speechless. And it should. What Jesus endured for our sake wasn’t “touchy feely” or a walk in the park. It was ugly, but our sin in even uglier, and sometimes we (I) need something like this movie to remind us (me) just how much Jesus loves us and was willing to endure for us.

8. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Who says you have to wait for the Divine Mercy Sunday Novena to pray the chaplet? It’s a short but perfect prayer for Lent. I also try and read parts, if not most, of Saint Faustina’s diary during Lent, too.

9. Pray the the Scriptures. Next to participating in the Sacraments, there is no better way to deepen our relationship with the Lord than Scripture.  Spending as little as five minutes a day with His Word can transform your life. (New to reading the Bible? Read this guide on how to pray the Scriptures.)

10. Fast. All through Lent we will be hearing about fasting. It’s good for the soul. It opens our eyes to the needs of others. it cleanses us of our base passions. But, fasting isn’t just giving up food, or even television (both of which are excellent). This year, why don’t we fast from anger, sloth or any of the other “capital sins” and try to feast on its opposing virtue? (I know my diet has been terribly deprived of patience lately! 😉 )

Now, don’t feel pressured to do all of these activities. Remember, the focus is to deepen our relationship with Christ not add on more to-dos! Start out small. Pick one to three activities and focus on those. Lent is not a competition or race to see how much you can do. It is about focusing on a few things and doing them well so that you can focus on growing deeper in your relationship with the Lord, not exhaust yourself.

So tell us, what are your suggestions for making Lent special for you this year?

P.S. For a printable version of this list go here to subscribe. Subscribers, go to your private page to download the list.

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What is All Souls Day?

What is All Souls Day?

Image by Pezibear (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

November 2 is the day the Church sets aside for All Souls Day but what does this mean? Basically, it is the commemoration of all the faithful departed who may be detained in purgatory. Of course, it is a good and holy thing to pray for the souls in Purgatory every day, especially Mondays, which is traditionally devoted to praying for those souls. Still, just like with All Saints, the Church gives us this particular day to remind us the importantance of praying for these holy souls who are saved but must complete their purification before entering heaven.

Although today is not a holy day of obligation, going to mass for All Souls Day is the most efficacious way to pray for them. Another beautiful way to pray for them is the Chaplet for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. In addition, the Pieta Prayer Book suggests praying 5 Apostle Creeds, 1 Hail Holy Queen, 1 Our Father, 1 Requiem and the Prayer of St. Gertrude the Great.

In case you don’t know the Requiem and Prayer of St. Gertrude, here they are:

The Requiem

“Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let your perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.”

Prayer of Saint Gertrude

“Ethernal Father, I offer thee the most precious blood of thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with all the Masses said throughout the world today, for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.”

That one is the version I was taught. Now, there is a second version that many people use:

“Eternal Father, I offer thee the most precious blood of thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with all the Masses said throughout the world today, for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.”

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