Saint Paul of the Cross: Saints and Scripture Sunday

On Wednesday, the Church celebrated the optional of Saint Paul of the cross, founder of the Passionists. If you don’t know much about Saint Paul of the Cross, it would be worth it to get to know him. 🙂 You can read about him here and here.

St. Paul of the Cross had a deep understanding of the sacrifice of Jesus and the love poured off from the Cross. He had great zeal for souls and continually offered (often severe) sacrifices and mortifications for their conversion. Of course, most of us aren’t called to do severe penances or mortifications, but we (speaking mostly for myself) can all probably follow his example and sacrifice ourselves a little more!

Here are a few nuggets of wisdom from Saint Paul of the Cross:

“It is an excellent and holy practice to call to mind and meditate on our Lord’s Passion, since it is by this path that we shall arrive at union with God. In this, the holiest of all schools, true wisdom is learned, for it was there that all the saints became wise.”

“Look upon the face of the Crucified, who invites you to follow Him. He will be a Father, Mother–everything to you.”

“The world lives unmindful of the sufferings of Jesus, which are the miracle of miracles of the Love of God”

(Join us for other Saints and Scripture posts at The Kennedy Adventures!)

August: The Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Did you know that the month of August is traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary? I didn’t know it was until just recently. It is also the month of two very special Marian feast days: Queenship of Mary (which when don’t celebrate this year because it’s a Sunday) and the Assumption.

Immaculate Heart

The best way to honor Our Lady is to honor Jesus. Whenever Our Lady appeared around the world, her main message has always been: peace, prayer, fasting, and conversion of heart. Here are 12 ideas for honoring Our Lady this month:

1. Go to Mass. The best way to honor Our Lady is to honor Jesus; and, what better way to honor Jesus than to participate in the Sacrifice of the Mass? Sunday mass is a given. If you aren’t in the habit of going to daily mass, could you find at least one or two extra days during the week for mass?

2. Make time for adoration. Most churches are open at least several hours a day and many have perpetual adoration or specific adoration times. When you are out and about running your errands, why not stop by a nearby church to spend time with Our Lord? If you can’t get out to a church, you can visit Our Lord through online adoration, such as the one from savior.org.

3. Go to confession (Sacrament of Reconciliation). Our Lady often called us to be reconciled to God. Even if you aren’t aware of mortal sin, going to confession strengthens your relationship with the Lord, helps strengthen your resolve and growth in virtue and confirms you in grace.

4. Pray the rosary. Better yet, pray the rosary as a family. The rosary is a powerful prayer! It is, in reality, a meditation on the birth, life, suffering, death and resurrection of Our Lord. Need another incentive, read these 15 promises.

5. Read the Bible. To know the heart of Mary, get to know the heart of Jesus; and, of course, the best way to do this is to spend time praying the scriptures. Start with reading the mass readings of the day and then go from there.

6. Fast. Our Lady often asks for fasting. She recommends fasting Wednesdays and Fridays, but if you aren’t used to fasting, start small. Try fasting from one meal a week or whatever you feel called to do. Fasting doesn’t have to be about food either. You can fast from television, the computer or news. Again, let the Lord guide you (preferably with the guidance of a spiritual director).

7. Mortification. Mortifying oneself or offering sacrifices is not a popular subject nowadays. Still, mortifying ourselves helps us grow in virtue and strengthens our spirit. When we mortify ourselves, we also share in a tiny way in the redemptive act of Jesus. Very powerful, that! Some examples would be to smile when we don’t feel like it, being patient when it is difficult, eating something we don’t like or not eating something we do like. The opportunities are endless if we look with the eyes of our hearts.

8. Make a pilgrimage. You don’t have to go to Lourdes or Fatima to make a pilgrimage. You can make a trip a local grotto or statue of Our Lady and pray the rosary or other prayers.

9. Participate in a procession. Processions are a traditional custom for the Assumption. If your church or a neighboring church doesn’t have processions, you can have a little procession with your family.

10. Consecrate yourself and family. What better way to honor Our Lady and Our Lord than to consecrate yourself to the hearts of Jesus and Mary? You use a formal consecration prayer, or make up your own prayer.

11. Wear the scapular. The scapular is a sacramental that reminds us of our Lord and Our Lady. The scapular isn’t magic, but there are promises attached to the scapular as well.

12. Bring Mary some flowers. Another tradition is to place flowers at the feet of Mary, particularly on Saturdays. If you have a garden, some families grow a Mary’s garden and/or grow flowers just for Mary.

I hope these suggestions are helpful! Let the Lord guide your family in your devotions. What ideas do you have for honoring Mary? Share in the comments. 🙂