Friday, March 30, 2012

Consecration Day

I am still taking in the effects of daily rosary and other prayers, marvelling at the transformation that has been occurring within my heart. When I first began, I did not *feel* much. I would say some prayers and then right afterwards say I can't possibly mean that because I don't want to. But as the days went on, I found myself meaning the words I said. I think this is true for me in so many areas of my life, whether it's doing the household work or writing. I'm often unenthusiastic about sitting down to revise a particularly difficult chapter or washing all the lettuce, but once I begin, there is joy in the tasks. And so it is with faith. I am reluctant, but it grows nonetheless as I pray, sometimes mechanically, sometimes with fervor, sometimes with tears.

I almost didn't get to make my consecration. I was determined to do it on Sunday, March 25th, even though this year the Church moved the Feast of Annunciation to the 26th since last Sunday was Passiontide. Anyway, after getting some fresh air after choir practice, I went up to the loft to read and pray. The bells rang. Mass started. But my daughter and her two friends were still not there. When we were praying the Kyrie, I heard the clomping of one girl up the steps. Not my daughter. But her friend. "My sister is hurt," she whispered. I went to the parish hall across the street thinking it must just be a little scratch, but instead she had bloody knees and elbows and scratches on her hands and ankles. We cleaned her as best we could and raided the first aid kit. She was so brave. I knew the water stung, as did my words about them going to the loft at the first sound of the bells, instead of waiting till the last minute and then rushing about ...  Not my finest moment, I can assure you.

I didn't realize how much time had passed. When we entered the sanctuary, Father was giving his homily. I could barely concentrate. It was during the Offertory while the priest prays and offers once again the perfect Sacrifice that I began to offer myself wholly, body and soul, to do with me as He pleases. And this is exactly what total consecration is about. We do it through Mary because He came to us through her and so we go to Him through her. This is why we kneel every time we proclaim the Incarnation. I find that these physical movements, though they are external, direct the interior.

Try this. Next time you are feeling a bit blue, hop or skip. It is impossible to have a long face while you skip. In fact, you will be merry.

I have a happy ending. After Holy Communion, I made my consecration with my whole heart, my body and my soul. I know I will fail and fall in many, many ways, but I will get up and reach out to Mary and Jesus. They are with me. I had the pleasure of going to Mass again on the 26th, to properly celebrate the Annunciation.

God bless you.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


It's hard to believe that this same time last week I was doing last minute preparations for the Write2Ignite Conference. I thank God for this gift (and Cec Murphey and the conference team) and for my carpool buddy Janice Green without whom I'd have ended up in some dirt road up a hill. Lovely house, that, but it was not our hotel.

I had such a wonderful time meeting Christian writers and editors -- on fire for the WORD -- and it makes me ever grateful that God never let up on me, that He kept calling and knocking on my stony heart ...

I had the opportunity to share my faith journey with these faith-filled women and men. One thing that came up a few times was why I chose the Catholic Church, and I don't think I chose it, as much as the Holy Spirit led me to it. Remember that I grew up in the Episcopal church in India, but it is quite different than the one here. I did remember enough of my history even without having touched the Bible for 30 years that for 1,500 years (until Reformation), Christianity was the Catholic Church. So it was very natural for us to step into the church that Christ established with Peter. Interestingly, we derive much of our liturgy from the Jewish practices, so there are many, many similarities if you attend a Jewish service.

I love that Christ gave us the Church, and at the foot of the Cross, he gave us his Mother. Under her protective mantle, all Christians gather. The consecration that I am going through is making it clearer and clearer. Another prayer I am beginning to love is the Memorare:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection,
implored your help or sought your intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence,
I fly to thee O Virgin of virgins, my Mother;
to you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word incarnate,
despise not my petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer me.

Our heavenly Mother is our advocate. St. Louis de Monfort's prayer to Jesus includes this:

Alas, O Lord! I am so wretched that without this dear Mother I should certainly be lost.
Yes, Mary is necessary for me at Thy side and everywhere;
that she may appease Thy just wrath, because I have so often offended Thee;
that she may save me from the eternal punishment of Thy justice, which I deserve;
that she may contemplate Thee, speak to Thee,
pray to Thee, approach Thee and please Thee;
that she may help me to save my soul and the souls of others;
in short, Mary is necessary for me that I may always do Thy holy will
and seek Thy greater glory in all things.

And so you see ... I am spinning into this vortex of love ... I am not alone in my journey. As I pray the rosary, it is Mary who leads me closer and closer to Christ.

I will be making my consecration on Sunday after Mass. Pray for me, my friends, that I may walk in the Light of Christ. I am so thankful for all of you.

I promise I will write a post about the conference ... after I have processed my notes and thoughts. Until then.

Pax Christi


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Prayer of St. Aloysius to the Blessed Mother

O holy Mary, my Mistress,
into thy blessed trust and special keeping,
into the bosom of thy tender mercy,
this day, every day of my life
and at the hour of my death,
I commend my soul and my body;
to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations,
all my trials and miseries,
my life and the end of my life,
that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits,
all my actions may be ordered and disposed
according to thy will and that of thy divine Son.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Mary and Jesus. Years ago, my sister copied it. I wonder if she still has it. I have a large print of this in our bedroom and a holy card with the prayer of St. Aloysius on the back. I use it as a bookmark and have gotten into the habit of praying it daily. It is such a simple and beautiful prayer, and it reminds me why I ask for her intercession -- her merits are great -- so that "Thy will be done." And she will be with me at the hour of my death, to guide me to her Son.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Holy Ghost

As Faith rightly points out in her comment of the previous post, the most obvious thing -- stop sinning -- is easier said than done. But the Lord does send help.

One of the daily prayers is the Litany of the Holy Ghost. And some of the requests seem straightforward -- for piety, virtues, graces, etc.

But here are some things that struck me as unusual ... only because I hadn't thought about them before. But they are just as important. Consider:

Holy Ghost, inspire us with horror of sin. Why? Why should we be horrified? We live in a world where many of us are not moved by the violence of abortion, family breakdown, or sexual immorality that we see or hear of, or even partake in. We are complacent. We take it for granted. I've read articles promoting infanticide because the authors claim there is no difference between a fetus and a newborn. They are right -- a fetus is on the way to becoming a newborn. It is a continuum. But their argument is that if abortion is allowed, then a doctor should also be able to kill a newborn because it is defective, or because it's the wrong sex, or because the parents simply do not want it. Do people like Peter Singer, Alberto Giubilini, Francesca Minerva, and other so-called intellectuals and philosophers, not realize the horror of what they propose? 

Parce Domine!

Holy Ghost, engrave Thy law in our hearts. What is God's law? The 10 Commandments? The Beatitudes. Sure. But God's laws are also the natural laws that rule physics, chemistry and biology. This is why homosexuality doesn't fit in the natural order of things. You can't make babies! Woman was made for man, not for another woman. That some people are born with an unnatural attraction towards the same sex must be a heavy cross to bear, but it still doesn't make it "normal." Homosexuality will always be an aberration. I know I hold a very unpopular view. Years ago, I would've said, live and let live. What does it matter what two people do in their bedroom? I even thought homosexual marriage was a good idea because at least they were committed. But I've come to my senses. The sexual liberation has not liberated anyone, but in fact, has made us slaves to sin. Premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexual sex, divorce, and abortion are all the fruits of this so-called liberation. Western civilization is on a downward spiral; we need to reverse the trend by embracing natural law promoting healthy and holy families. For it is family that is the natural unit of society, not the individual. Where families break down, so do societies.

Miserere nobis.

Holy Ghost, grant us the only necessary knowledge. This is interesting to me. I am so hungry for knowledge. But with this prayer, I am asking not to grasp at knowledge, but to be given the wisdom and knowledge that is necessary, and sufficient. With this prayer, I ask for greater trust and faith in the Lord.

I hope you will be inspired to pray the Litany of the Holy Ghost from time to time.

Come, Holy Ghost! Fill the hearts of Thy faithful
And enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Blessed are the Pure in Heart

“The biggest obstacle we have to understanding the Word of God is our sin.” Fr. Francis Martin says to the young deacon, now Msgr. Charles Pope. To read the full reflection on one of the most important beatitudes, go to the ADW blog. In a nutshell, we need to stop sinning. We should pray to become more holy.

There is so much evil in this world, and much of it comes from our fallen natures, our propensity to sin. We must fight it. Just like the boy David chooses five smooth stones in preparation to bring down the mighty Goliath, so Our Lady gives us five stones to fight the devil:

Prayer -- Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Fasting -- Certain devils, can be cast out in no other way except by prayer and fasting, said Jesus (Mark 9:29).
Daily Bible Reading -- For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12).
Confession -- for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation (Romans 10:10).
Eucharist -- So Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves (John 6:53).
You can read more here.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
I like this recording of the psalm.

Enjoy and God bless.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Effective Prayer

In the past two weeks I have come across this verse thrice -- twice in my readings, and once during Mass.

So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. Luke 11:9

So I have been doing a lot of asking -- for blessings, for virtues, for graces, and my deepest desires, and in the end I return to Thy will be done. I know my Father knows all this without even me asking, and now I can hope that my will is aligned with His. I don't know whether I can ever be as good to say as St. Paul to the Galatians (2:20): it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me ... but that is my prayer.

I try to remember this passage for it relates to all the asking I do: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33  First things first, right?

I am excited and pleased to share with you that I received a scholarship for the Write 2 Ignite conference this St. Patty's day weekend. Thanks to Cec Murphey and the conference leaders.

God bless.