Sunday, September 20, 2015

Novena in Preparation for Michaelmas

I well remember two years ago, my friend Deana and I  rushing back from the Carolinas SCBWI conference so that I could make it to Mass. It was a High Mass in honor of St. Michael the Archangel. I brought my music with me to the conference so that I could practice in my hotel room and I was so grateful to have a comfortable room all to my own (one of the perks of being a speaker). It was that same Sunday we joined the Angelic Warfare confraternity. I cannot express how many fruits have come from this. By ourselves, we cannot fight our sinful nature, but with the help of good angels and saints, we can resist evil.

This year is even more special. Fr. Cassian Folsom, a priest/monk from the Benedictine community of Norcia, Italy is coming to celebrate Mass. Did you all know their album hits #1 in religious music? Who would've thunk in today's world? The human heart longs to be united to God and this music lifts our hearts and minds to Him. The chant is DIVINE. That's one of the reasons we are not singing a chant Mass, as much as we love it. We wouldn't want his ears to hurt with our poor chanting. Instead we will sing the Sir Richard Terry Mass written in honor of St. Bruno, founder of the Carthusians. It's lovely but I just realized it's only nine days away! We have much work to do to give honor and glory to God.

The good monk is bringing beer too! We expect a packed church. It might be for the beer, but I am sure it is to listen to Fr. Folsom, who will discuss the Benedict Option. So, if you are in the Charleston area, Sept. 29th, come join us for Mass (6 pm) and stay for the potluck at Stella Maris Catholic Church.

Please, pray with us this Novena to Saint Michael the Archangel for Holy Mother the Church, the Holy Father Pope Francis, for ourselves, our families, and our country. We pray the short form above daily but I've swiped the longer form from Rorate Caeli.

PRINCEPS gloriosissime caelestis militiae, sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio et colluctatione, quae nobis adversus principes et potestates, adversus mundi rectores tenebrarum harum, contra spiritualia nequitiae, in caelestibus. Veni in auxilium hominum, quos Deus creavit inexterminabiles, et ad imaginem similitudinis suae fecit, et a tyrannide diaboli emit pretio magno. Proeliare hodie cum beatorum Angelorum exercitu proelia Domini, sicut pugnasti contra ducem superbiae luciferum, et angelos eius apostaticos: et non valuerunt, neque locus inventus est eorum amplius in caelo. Sed proiectus est draco ille magnus, serpens antiquus, qui vocatur diabolus et satanas, qui seducit universum orbem; et proiectus est in terram, et angeli eius cum illo missi sunt.
O GLORIOUS Prince of the heavenly host, Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and fearful warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come thou to the assistance of men, whom Almighty God created immortal, making them in His own image and likeness and redeeming them at a great price from the tyranny of Satan. Fight this day the battle of the Lord with thy legions of holy Angels, even as of old thou didst fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud spirits and all his rebel angels, who were powerless to stand against thee, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that great dragon was cast forth, the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and satan, who seduces the whole world; and he was cast forth upon Earth, and his angels were sent with him.

En antiquus inimicus et homicida vehementer erectus est. Transfiguratus in angelum lucis, cum tota malignorum spirituum caterva late circuit et invadit terram, ut in ea deleat nomen Dei et Christi eius, animasque ad aeternae gloriae coronam destinatas furetur, mactet ac perdat in sempiternum interitum. Virus nequitiae suae, tamquam flumen immundissimum, draco maleficus transfundit in homines depravatos mente et corruptos corde; spiritum mendacii, impietatis et blasphemiae; halitumque mortiferum luxuriae, vitiorum omnium et iniquitatum.
But behold! the ancient enemy of mankind and a murderer from the beginning has been fiercely aroused. Changing himself into an angel of light, he goes about with the whole multitude of the wicked spirits to invade the earth and blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to plunder, to slay, and to consign to eternal damnation the souls that have been destined for a crown of everlasting life. This wicked serpent, like an unclean torrent, pours into men of depraved minds and corrupt hearts the poison of his malice, the spirit of lying, impiety and blasphemy, and the deadly breath of impurity and every form of vice and iniquity.
Ecclesiam, Agni immaculati sponsam, vaferrimi hostes repleverunt amaritudinibus, inebriarunt absinthio; ad omnia desiderabilia eius impias miserunt manus. Ubi sedes beatissimi Petri et Cathedra veritatis ad lucem gentium constituta est, ibi thronum posuerunt abominationis et impietatis suae; ut percusso Pastore, et gregem disperdere valeant.
Be favorable to Thy Church, the Bride of the Lamb without spot, whose enemies have filled to overflowing with gall and inebriated with wormwood. They have laid profane hands upon Her most sacred treasures. Where the See of the most blessed Peter and the Chair of Truth has been constituted as a light to the nations, there they have placed a throne of their abomination and impiety; so that with the Pastor struck, they may prevail to disperse the flock.
Adesto itaque, Dux invictissime, populo Dei contra irrumpentes spirituales nequitias, et fac victoriam. Te custodem et patronum sancta veneratur Ecclesia; te gloriatur defensore adversus terrestrium et infernorum nefarias potestates; tibi tradidit Dominus animas redemptorum in superna felicitate locandas. Deprecare Deum pacis, ut conterat satanam sub pedibus nostris, ne ultra valeat captivos tenere homines, et Ecclesiae nocere. Offer nostras preces in conspectu Altissimi, ut cito anticipent nos misericordiae Domini, et apprehendas draconem, serpentem antiquum, qui est diabolus et satanas, ac ligatum mittas in abyssum, ut non seducat amplius gentes. Hinc tuo confisi praesidio ac tutela, sacri ministerii nostri auctoritate [si fuerit laicus, vel clericus qui ordinem exorcistatus nondum suscepit, dicat: sacra sanctae Matris Ecclesiae auctoritate], ad infestationes diabolicae fraudis repellendas in nomine Iesu Christi Dei et Domini nostri fidentes et securi aggredimur.
Therefore, most invincible Leader, be with the people of God against this spiritual wickedness and bring about victory. Thou art venerated by Holy Church as Her guard and patron; Thou art glorified as our defender against the impious powers of earth and of hell. Unto thee the Lord hath handed over the souls of the redeemed to be placed in happiness above. Entreat the God of peace, to obliterate satan beneath our feet, lest he prevail further to hold men captive, and to injure the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that the mercy of the Lord may swiftly overtake us, and apprehend the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and satan, and send him bound into the abyss, so that he may seduce the nations no more. Henceforth having been confided to thy escort and protection, we sacred ministers by our authority [if recited by a layman, or cleric who has not yet taken up the order of exorcist, say instead, "by the authority of Holy Mother Church ], do undertake to repel the infestations of diabolical deceit in the Name of Jesus Christ, Our God and Lord.
V. Ecce Crucem Domini, fugite partes adversae.
V. Behold the Cross of the Lord, depart from us, our adversaries.
R. Vicit Leo de tribu Iuda, radix David.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda, root of David, has conquered.
V. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos.
V. Let Thy mercy be upon us Lord.
R. Quemadmodum speravimus in te.
R. As much as we hope in Thee.
V. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Deus, et Pater Domini nostri Iesu Christi, invocamus nomen sanctum tuum, et clementiam tuam supplices exposcimus ut, per intercessionem immaculatae semper Virginis Dei Genetricis Mariae, beati Michaelis Archangeli, beati Ioseph eiusdem beatae Virginis Sponsi, beatorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli et omnium Sanctorum, adversus satanam, omnesque alios immundos spiritus, qui ad nocendum humano generi animasque perdendas pervagantur in mundo, nobis auxilium praestare digneris.
Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Let us pray
O God, and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we invoke Thy Holy Name, and we humbly implore Thy clemency so that, through the intercession of Mary, the Immaculate ever-Virgin Mother of God, of blessed Michael the Archangel, of blessed Joseph, the Spouse of the same blessed Virgin, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the Saints, Thou may deign to offer us aid against satan, and all the other unclean spirits, who wander through the world to injure the human race and to destroy souls. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Library Display -- Harvest Tour of Homes

A friend sent me this library display! Do you see what I see? I've been invited to be part of the annual Harvest Tour of Homes. It's a very unique way to raise money for our local library. Four beautiful homes are featured and in each home there is a local author. I am so honored to be amongst these wonderful authors who write about food, culture and history. I have a feeling my Michael is going to be very interested in Robert Moss's books on Southern food and especially barbecue! If you either watched or read and enjoyed The Help, you will love Angela William's memoir: Hush Now, Baby. I suspect that many such stories are just waiting to be told. And for the history buffs: a novel set in antebellum Charleston by Ben Pogue.  If you're in the Charleston area Oct. 24th, come see me and these amazing writers and support our local library!

I wonder whether some day I can get our home in good enough shape to be *shown*!!! Alas, the writing life means that I am not the best housekeeper. We have books not only on the shelves but piles of them in every room. And papers. Our formal dining area is actually a computer and art room. We pretty much live in the kitchen and back porch. It is a writer's dream home -- tranquil. Perhaps I'll leave behind a legacy of great books and someone else will keep house for me. Or maybe long after I'm dead, people will come to see where I wrote. Ah, one can dream.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Seven Sorrows of Mary

The rosary is my favorite meditation. It is like looking at Mary's photo album of the life of Jesus. But there are other meditations as well -- Divine Mercy being a huge one, especially for those who are dying.

Today the Feast of our Sorrowful Mother. As you might guess, there is a chaplet to meditate upon Mary's seven sorrows:  

The Prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:34–35) or the Circumcision of Christ
  1. The Flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13)
  2. The loss of the child Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:43–45)
  3. Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary.
  4. Jesus dies on the cross. (John 19:25)
  5. The piercing of the side of Jesus, and Mary's receiving the body of Jesus in her arms. (Matthew 27:57–59)
  6. The body of Jesus is placed in the tomb. (John 19:40–42)

But in the end, Our Lady of Sorrows is the Cause of our Joy. With her Fiat, she brought Jesus to us ... and as He hung upon the Cross, dying, He gave her to us from the Cross. She prays for us constantly. Truly, it was her pierced heart that melted mine. In Rome, when I was a young bride without children of my own, and unbelieving, I fell to my knees at this Pieta. This is the power of her sorrow and of great art.

After I discovered the seven sorrows of Mary, I naturally wanted to know whether Joseph too had sorrows that are commemorated. Indeed he does, and his every sorrow is turned into joy. Here are the meditations. I've copied them from the Via Rosa website.

St. Joseph Rosaries and Chaplets
Seven Sorrows
Seven Joys
The doubt of St. Joseph. (Matt. 1:19) 1 The message of the Angel. (Matt. 1:20)
The poverty of Jesus' birth. (Luke 2:7) 2 The birth of the Savior. (Luke 2:10-11)
The Circumcision. (Luke 2:21) 3 The Holy Name of Jesus. (Matt. 1:25)
The prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:34) 4 The effects of the Redemption. (Luke 2:38)
The flight into Egypt. (Matt. 2:14) 5 The overthrow of the idols of Egypt. (Is. 19:1)
The return from Egypt. (Matt. 2:22) 6 Life with Jesus and Mary at Nazareth. (Luke 2:39)
The loss of the Child Jesus. (Luke 2:45) 7 The finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:46)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering 9/11

It is a bittersweet day for us because this tragedy set my husband upon a spiritual path that led us all to the Catholic Church. We felt so helpless. And we turned our faces to God. As ISIS marches across the Middle East, destroying churches and beheading and murdering Christians, in my sorrow, I remember the new saints in heaven. The Church Triumphant. ISIS is clearly evil and they can destroy our human bodies and places of worship, but they cannot destroy our souls. In fact, as Saint Junipera Serra said when one of his fellow brothers was brutally murdered by the Natives, "Thank God! The seed of the Gospel is now watered by the blood of a martyr; that mission is henceforth established."  He later protected the repentant Natives from being executed by the Spanish. 

Protus hyacinth.jpgI just discovered that Sept. 11 is the feast day of Saints Protus and Hyacinth, brothers who were scourged and then beheaded for their faith around AD 260 under Valerian (St. Andrew Daily Missal). It reminds me to not focus on the things of the earth, but of the heavenly kingdom.

Pax Christi.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Catechesis Resources

Michael bought THEOLOGY FOR BEGINNERS a couple of years ago and I've only now picked it up. What a GEM. I recommend this to all Christians, whether or not they think they already know and understand the mysteries of our faith.

So imagine my surprise when Michael -- and by now you must realize he is very good at digging up stuff! -- found a wonderful website with this very charming woman giving catechesis that even a second-grader can understand but with such depth, you will not be disappointed. It's no surprise that Daphne McLeod was a student of Sheed's. 

Michael had been looking for a resource for our Sunday Lectio Divina for the traditional calendar. I'm so glad he likes poking around the interwebs! My St. Andrew Daily Missal is a lot like this but it's hard to read because the print is so teeny.  Still, I love it. No more throwing away or recycling the Word of God as I've been doing the past couple of years with the Magnificat. I have something I can use year after year.  

I have a writing assignment (my first Catholic one!) and was looking for some resources online and hit the jackpot! St. Thomas Aquinas' commentary on the Gospel of John. Holy smokes!

Anyhow, I hope you will give the book a try and the links a look-see and listen. You will not be disappointed. Remember, the first spiritual work of mercy is instructing the ignorant! I do thank these wonderful teachers.

Monday, September 7, 2015

On Resting and Reading

I hope everybody is enjoying a relaxing and restful Labor Day and those who are looking for work will find just the right job. I am so grateful for Sundays -- ever since we were preparing to enter the Church, Sundays became a day of worship and study. Michael and I had our adult class after morning Mass, whereas the kids had their class before evening Mass, so we'd have about four hours in between for lunch and rest, reading and recreation. Out of necessity, we took the Sabbath rest and the wisdom of the Church continually amazes me.

For me resting and reading go nearly hand-in-hand. So I want to share some good books I've read.

I read LOST LAYSEN by Margaret Mitchell while I was visiting my in-laws. My MIL is a MM fan and to read this little novella penned to her beau, Henry Love Angel, at the age of 16, is a window into the author's development. It has some of the same themes as Gone with the Wind. The letters and photos in the beginning are a great treasure.

No doubt some of the stereotypes of minorities will be offensive to modern ears. They always will be, but I hope nobody decides that these books need sanitizing. It's the same when I read other books and even scientific literature written before 1930s. The racial prejudice can make a person cringe. But it is our history and it is good to be aware of it. 

A JEALOUS GOD: Science's Crusade Against Religion by Pamela R. Winnick is an eye opening read. As a former scientist myself, I have always valued the scientific method, it's ways of correcting false theories, and the glimpse it gives into the mind of God (and I thought this even as an atheist -- yes, I was a very bad one). However, I was also exposed to scientists with larger-than-life egos, who would do anything to suppress any data that goes against their personal beliefs. My husband often remarked that science itself has become a god. How true.

This book takes an honest look at the history and politics of some of the most ethically-challenged research: cloning, stem-cell research, and more. It looks into the changes of school curricula that promote the abandonment of the traditional Judeo-Christian morality, encouraging moral relativism. As you can see, the results are tragic. This book was published ten years ago, and the closing paragraph is chilling: The Galileo prototype of the scientist martyred by religion is now purely a myth. Science long ago won its war against religion, not just traditional religion, but any faith in a power outside the human mind. Now it wants more.

I can't help but think of the recent atrocities uncovered at Planned Parenthood and our government's decision to still continue funding them. It's the height of moral bankruptcy.

But we cannot go on like this. Truth always wins and the human heart is made for God.

So I especially enjoyed this book of essays by Fr. Robert Barron: SEEDS OF THE WORD: Finding God in the Culture. We love good books and movies and in this collection, Fr. Barron (now Bishop Elect!) shows how our Judeo-Christian culture is still found in our popular literature and movies. Granted that it is distorted at times, but that is precisely what happens when we throw out God. He is a marvelous writer, very engaging and I encourage you to check out his Word on Fire website. Most of his ruminations on movies and books and the current culture is on his YouTube channel, which is where I discovered him, but it is really nice to have a book to peruse. Several years ago, Michael bought the Catholicism series as a Christmas gift. We still love to watch it because it is so beautifully produced.

I hope this Labor Day you will consider the kind of work you do. Whether it brings honor and glory to God, whether it is building the Kingdom of God or destroying it. If it's the latter, all you need is to turn away. Today I am reading and writing. I think writers are the only folks I know who don't want to take a day off from *work*. We are so blessed to do what we love.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

School and Snacks

My kids started school mid-August and I finally have a picture of them in their uniforms. The kids are always dashing out the door. Oh, it's not cold at all; in fact, quite the opposite, but the AC keeps the classrooms cool, so Dagny wears a fleece jacket. I still don't know how she manages to ride her bike without getting overheated.

It is so nice not to have to drive anymore. School is just half a mile away, if that. 

You can see the cat is tuned in to their routine as well. When they have a snack, she's right up there, demanding her share ...

I am writing and revising again and even have some goals for September. It feels like the start of a new year.
How is the new school year shaping up for you?