Assumption of the Blessed Mother

Today is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother and it is a beautiful and important feast in our liturgical calendar. It is also a relatively new solemnity in that the Assumption of Mary was declared a dogma of the Church in 1950.

Assumption of Mary

Image by Peter Paul Rubens (1626) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

What is the Assumption of Mary?

The Assumption of Mary is the event in which God to Mary to heaven – body and soul. When you and I die, our soul will go to heaven, purgatory or hell and our bodies will decay as it waits for the final Resurrection at the end of times. Mary, however, didn’t have to wait. Right now, Mary is in heaven with her soul and body already united.

Some theologians and thinkers believe that Mary was given the grace of not having to die and was assumed into heaven without dying first. Others believe that Mary did die, in imitation of Christ who died for us, but was assumed into heaven shortly after her death. Honestly, though, it doesn’t matter whether you believe Mary died before she was assumed or not. We are required to believe that Mary was, in fact, brought to heaven with her body and soul, not how it happened.

The Assumption is NOT the Ascension.

Many people get the Assumption of Mary and the Ascension of Jesus confused. That’s completely  understandable given that both feasts celebrate Jesus and Mary’s “entrance” into heaven body and soul. Here is the difference: In the Ascension of Jesus, 40 days after His Resurrection, Jesus ascends back to heaven through HIS OWN POWER. You can read about Jesus’ ascension at the end of the gospels in the bible. In the assumption, Mary is taken to heaven by POWER of GOD. Mary did NOT take herself to heaven, nor was she capable of doing so. The assumption is a gift and a grace of God that was granted to Mary.

Why was Mary Assumed into Heaven? 

During her life, Mary had a unique share in the suffering and death of Jesus. She carried him in her womb, she raised Him, and she followed Him in the most perfect way. Therefore, it seems fitting that she gets to have a unique share of His glory. 🙂

The significance of the Assumption.

This solemnity of the Assumption should give us great joy and hope. Mary is in heaven, in her glorified body just like we will be when the time comes. Thus, her Assumption is a peek of our future destiny. When we die, we know that our souls are separated from our bodies. But, this is temporary. When Jesus returns at the second coming, our souls and bodies will be reunited again in our own glorified bodies.

The Assumption reminds us that our life on earth isn’t all there is; we have a destiny. Jesus is our destiny. Heaven is real and it is our destiny. We live in hope that we will be with the Blessed Trinity, all the Saints and Angels in heaven, FOREVER. How awesome is that?!

How can we celebrate this special Solemnity?

1. The first thing you should do is go to Mass. As a matter of fact, the feast of the Assumption is a Holy Day of Obligation, so technically you “have” to go. Of course, we don’t celebrate the Eucharist just because we have to, right? We go to Mass because we want to. 😉

2. Pray the glorious mysteries of the rosary. The glorious mysteries include the Assumption of Mary. “Bonus points” if you pray as a family!

3. In times past, most parishes would have a procession in Our Lady’s honor on this day. It’s not that common anymore, however, your (or a  nearby) parish is doing a procession, consider participating in it. If there aren’t any local processions available, you can put do a small procession for yourself and your family.

4. If you have time, you can do some crafts with your kids like this one at crafolic.com or this one at catholicmom.com.

5. You can also make an Assumption themed meal or treat like I found here and here (scroll down to the Assumption) on catholiccuisine.com.

These are just a few ideas. I’m sure with a little thought you will be able to come up with your own way of honoring Our Lady. May your day be blessed!

Resources to deepen your understanding  of this great Solemnity:

New Advent

About.com

AssumptionMary.com

The Transfiguration of Our Lord

Tomorrow (August 6) is the feast of the Transfiguration our Lord. In reading the mass readings for today, these verses particularly stand out:

Transfiguration of Our Lord

Image by dimitrisvetsikas1969 (2017) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to Him.”

Therefore, I am going to pray for the grace to be able to hear the voice of Jesus. I am praying for the grace to not let the many cares of daily life from getting in the way of listening to His voice and paying attention to Him. I don’t know about you, but I can easily get into the habit of letting the craziness of life take over me and I don’t take the time for prayer and spending time with God. How about you? Am I alone in this?

That’s why I need the grace to make time for prayer and reading His Word. In essence, am praying for a deepening of my relationship with the Lord.

I am also praying for this grace for each of you, as well. I pray that you have a deepening of your relationship with Jesus and that you grow ever closer to Him with each new day. May all our minds and hearts be transfigured unto Jesus.

How about you? What is your prayer for this beautiful feast?

The Immaculate Conception

Today, December 8, is the glorious solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. It is a day that all Catholics should celebrate with joy and thanksgiving because this amazing gift to Mary is also a gift for us!

Immaculate Conception

Image by Murillo (1678) via wikipedia, CCO Public Domain

What is the purpose of the Solemnity?

This solemnity celebrates the great grace given to Mary in virtue of the fact that she was to be the mother of Our Savior: She was conceived without original sin.

We are all born with original sin thanks to our first parents, Adam and Eve. At baptism original sin is washed away. But for Mary, she was freed from original sin at the moment of her conception.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in articles 490-493:

“Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God,134 was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135

The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”.136 The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.137″

This is a wonderful mystery that we would do well to meditate upon. I encourage you to go deeper into this mystery and for more information you can go here.

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Saint Andrew and the Christmas Novena

Today is the feast of Saint Andrew, a wonderful and powerful saint. He was a great Apostle and missionary of the Lord. He is mentioned several times in the gospel. In fact, he brought Saint Peter to Jesus. I love that Saint Andrew told Peter, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41) after only one encounter! Of course there were ups and downs in his relationship with the Lord, but after the Resurrection and St. Andrew receives the Holy Spirit he becomes a mighty instrument for the Lord!

Image by unknown author (13th Century) via Wikipedia, CCO Public Domain

Image by unknown author (13th Century) via Wikipedia, CCO Public Domain

Saint Andrew died a martyr on a cross that was in the shape of an X. He was not nailed, but bound, to the cross and suffered for two days before finally passing to the Lord. Saint Andrew is the patron of fisherman and the countries of Russia, Scotland, and Greece. He also has the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena named after him.

Saint Andrew Christmas Novena

The Saint Andrew Christmas novena starts today, November 30, and continues until Christmas day. The prayer is very short and simple. All you have to do is say the following prayer 15 times a day, every day from now until Christmas. (I promise you, it only takes a few minutes.)

“Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of his Blessed Mother. Amen.”

By the way, you don’t have to say the prayer 15 times all at once. Some years I do, but some years, I break it up and say the prayer five times in a row, three times a day. I just added it to my prayers before meals. Some years, I break it up and say the prayer two times a day (7 times and then 8 times). Also, don’t be scrupulous if you miss a day or two, I’ve done that, too!

You can get a printable version of the prayer here. No opt-in required.

Resources

Here are some links to peruse and get to know Saint Andrew better.

AmericanCatholic.org

New Advent

Catholic.org

SaintAndrew.us

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Tweetable: Saint Andrew and the Christmas Novena

Saint Martin de Porres, Pray for Us!

November 3 is the optional memorial of Saint Martin de Porres. If you are a regular reader here at Simple Catholic Living, you may know that Saint Martin is one of my favorite saints. In fact, I think I may mention him every year on his feast day. 🙂

Saint Martin de Porres, Pray for Us

Image by Anonymous (siglo XVII) via Wikipedia, CCO Public domain

I can’t help myself. He is a saint who suffered great poverty and adversity in his life. He faced rejection (from his own father!), racism, and injustice. Yet, he remained kind, charitable, and humble through it all. He gave what little he had joyfully and loved everyone. Like Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Martin loved all animals, great and small – and they loved him back.

Saint Martin was also one of those saints that received extraordinary graces from the Lord, such as bi-location. However, they were never the focus. Prayer, penance, love. Those are the things that set Saint Martin apart.

Well, it is what sets apart all saints, isn’t it? They love, pray, and give more than the rest. But, since the day I learned about him I have been drawn to him. I want to love God as he did and serve my neighbor as he did.

He is a great model for us all. Saint Martin de Porres, pray for us!

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Tweetable: Saint Martin de Porres, Pray for Us!

Prayer for the Deceased

Yes, today is Halloween but it was originally celebrated as “All Hallow’s Eve.” All Hallow’s Eve was (is) the day before All Saint’s Day which is the day we remember all the “unsung Saints” who are now in Heaven.

Something not so mentioned (or popular) nowadays is All Soul’s Day. It is a day that we pray in a special way for the souls in Purgatory. The official day All Soul’s Day is November 2 but we can (and should) pray anytime for those dear souls. So, let us do so today:

Image by LoveToTakePhotos (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Image by LoveToTakePhotos (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Receive in tranquility and peace, O Lord, the souls of your servants who have departed this present life to come to you. Grant them rest and place them in the habitations of light, the abodes of blessed spirits. Give them the life that will not age, good things that will not pass away, delights that have no end, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”St. Ignatius of Antioch

May all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace!

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Tweetable: Prayer for the Deceased

Hat tip to MyCatholicSource.com which is where I found this prayer.

31 Days Writing Challenge

31 Days of Prayer – Prayer for Vocations

Praying for vocations are near and dear to my heart. As some of you may know, I spent a number of years discerning a religious vocation with the Little Sisters of the Poor. Even though I do not have a vocation, spending time with those sisters was one the best things I’ve ever done. I learned so much about my faith, myself and others. Seriously, sometimes I think everyone should go through a noviate!

31 Days of Prayer - Prayer for Vocations

Image by LoveToTakePhotos (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Thus, as our month of prayer comes to a close, I think it is fitting and proper to pray for vocations. We need holy priests, brothers, and sisters in the Church!

This prayer for vocations comes from the USCCB website:

Loving God, you call all who believe in you to grow perfect in love by following in the footsteps of Christ your Son. Call from among us more men and women who will serve you as religious. By their way of life, may they provide a convincing sign of your Kingdom for the Church and the whole world. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

In your prayers for vocations, don’t forget that marriage is a vocation, and so is the single life. We need to pray for holy and faithful marriages. We also need single lay faithful who are called to serve the church in various capacities! May the Lord send workers into His harvest!

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31 Days Writing Challenge

31 Days of Prayer – Saint Jude

Yesterday was the feast day of saints Simon and Jude. I was going to offer a prayer to Saint Jude yesterday; however, being Friday, it made more sense to do the Prayer Before A Crucifix. Thus, today we are going to pray to Saint Jude now. 🙂

 31 Days of Prayer - Saint Jude


Image by LoveToTakePhotos (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Saint Jude is one of the Apostles and the patron saint of “hopeless causes.” We can go to him in our deepest needs and he will intercede on our behalf!

Here is a touching prayer to Saint Jude that I found on Catholic Online:

St. Jude, glorious Apostle, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor has caused you to be forgotten by many, but the true Church invokes you universally as the Patron of things despaired of; pray for me, that finally I may receive the consolations and the succor of Heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly (here make your request), and that I may bless God with the Elect throughout Eternity. Amen.”

Saint Jude, pray for us!

(And, let’s not forget Saint Simon. Saint Simon, pray for us!)

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31 Days Writing Challenge

31 Days of Prayer – Prayer Before a Crucifix

Did you know that every Friday during the year is dedicated to the Passion of Jesus, not just during Lent? As we near the end of October and head into All Saints Day and All Souls day, I thought I would share this beautiful prayer before a Crucifix:

Image by LoveToTakePhotos (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Image by LoveToTakePhotos (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Prayer Before A Crucifix

Look down upon me good and gentle Jesus, while before Thy face I humbly kneel and with burning soul pray and beseech Thee to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity, true contrition for my sins and a firm purpose of amendment, while I contemplate with great love and tender pity Thy Five Wounds, pondering over them within me and calling to mind the words which David Thy prophet said of Thee my Jesus, ‘They have pierced My hands and My feet, the have numbered all My Bones.’ (Ps. 21: 17-18)*”

The church offers a partial indulgence when said before a crucifix after receiving communion and a plenary (complete) indulgence when said during the Fridays in Lent.

I love this prayer so much that I have developed a habit of praying this prayer whenever I receive communion, either on Sundays or daily mass. It is a poignant reminder of the suffering that Jesus endured for our sakes.

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You can download this prayer here: Prayer Before a Crucifix No opt-in required.

Tweetable: Prayer Before A Crucifix

*As far as I can tell, the author of this prayer is unknown and it is in public domain.

31 Days Writing Challenge

31 Days of Prayer – Act of Love

Over the last couple of days we prayed the Act of Faith and the Act of Hope. Today we will pray the Act of Love.

31 Days of Prayer - Act of Love

Image by LoveToTakePhotos (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

The Act of Love (Charity) is a powerful and challenging prayer. In it we declare our love for God above all else and our willingness to forgive all.

O my God, I love you above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because you are all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of you. I forgive all who have injured me and ask pardon of all whom I have injured. Amen.”

I admit that I do not love God above all things. I want to, but oh, I always mange to put myself first. What I want, what I need, what I desire. But, when I pray this prayer, I aspire to love God above all things!

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31 Days Writing Challenge