Saint Josephine Bakhita, you were sold into slavery as a child and endured untold hardship and suffering. Once liberated from your physical enslavement, you found true redemption in your encounter with Christ and his Church. O St. Bakhita, assist all those who are trapped in a state of slavery; Intercede with God on their behalf so that they will be released from their chains of captivity. Those whom man enslaves, let God set free. Provide comfort to survivors of slavery and let them look to you as an example of hope and faith. Help all survivors find healing from their wounds. We ask for your prayers and intercessions for those enslaved among us.
Stephen, Stephen, I say: here is a place for goodness, here is a time for mercy, here at least is an opportunity to show charity! For I stand continually in danger although I do not always recognise this, and I am the more miserable and wretched when I forget that it is so.
St Stephen holding a Bible. For God always sees my sins, always his severe judgment threatens the sinfulness of my soul, always hell gapes and its torments are ready to snatch my wretched soul away to that place.
Thus am I placed when I wake, thus when I sleep; I am thus when I smile, thus when I jest; thus when I am proud, thus when I am humiliated; thus when angry, thus when vindicated; thus, thus I am when I miserably love the delights of the flesh. Thus am I then always and everywhere.
So I pray you, Stephen, make haste before I am condemned, before the enemies of the human race snatch me away to torment, before the prison of hell swallows me up, before the torments of eternal fire consume me.
Truly my need is great when it impels me to ask for help even of those by whom I deserve to be punished. But you and all the saints are so full of such wealth from the unending fount of all goodness, that you delight rather to free by your goodness those whom by justice you are able to condemn
If this year has been anything like mine you strongly desire a sense of normalcy, routine, and stability. Up. Down. Sideways. Left. Right. Cattywampus. Upside down. There’s really no predictability in life anymore. At least that’s what our great Enemy desires us to think.
A spiritual weapon to fight chaos in your life.
Chaos is a normal part of life since the Fall as told in Genesis 3. Originally, Adam and Eve were created in an original state of justice and union with God. Disobedience to God’s will led to original sin and the consequences of death. But God is love and He didn’t want to give up on humanity so easily.
According to John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” God became man in the person of Jesus Christ. Saint Paul refers to Jesus as the New Adam (Man).
Since Jesus is the New Adam who then is considered the New Eve (Woman)? The answer is: Mary, the Mother of God.
Saint Jerome wrote in his Epistle 22, “Death came through Eve, but life has come through Mary.” Put another way, Mary gave birth to salvation (Jesus). The angel Gabriel visited Mary by greeting her and calling her the favored one of God. The Hail Mary prayer comes from the first chapter of Luke.
This leads me to the question a lot people have about the Blessed Virgin Mary: what is the Rosary?
What is the Rosary
In short, it is a prayer about the life of Jesus and Mary. Composed of the Our Father and Hail Mary prayers (there are other prayers included which I will go over in future posts), the Rosary helps Christians keep alive the memories of the events in salvation history.
The word Rosary originates from Latin and means a garland of roses, the rose being one of the flowers used to symbolize the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Praying the Rosary provides a foundation in your life. The repetition helps to form a habit of pondering the Mysteries of faith. Recently, I have struggled mightily with anxiety and depression. I’ve resolved to pray the Most Holy Rosary more frequently. The goal is not to rattle off prayers but to ponder the life of Jesus and Mary throughout your day.
Stay tuned for more in The Importance of the Rosary series. Subscribe to The Simple Catholic to receive email updates about the Rosary and other Catholic content.
“The Rosary is the most powerful weapon to touch the Heart of Jesus, Our Redeemer, who loves His Mother.” — Saint Louis de Montfort
If you look up synonyms for PANDEMIC, you find at least 40 different words of which only a small handful seem at all connotative of something as negative as the Coronavirus. Most eml of the synonyms listed seem to invoke a description rdmore relatable to what many films of us have found as an antidote to our current situation of fear and outbreak
Catholic (but catholic, with a little “c”)
One of the first words I saw was “catholic”; not to be confused with Catholic, which is a proper noun describing a kind of Christian. The adjective catholic also means universal, and when we say the Nicene Creed at each Sunday liturgy, we are proclaiming belief in the four pillars of the church; one, holy, catholic (not Catholic) and apostolic. We are stating our belief in the one church of Jesus Christ that is his universal church.
There are few times I feel more catholic (and Catholic) than when I say the rosary because it is the total and the whole of intercessory prayer (by the way, ALL synonyms for pandemic as well.) I feel I can–in a steady and comprehensive way–capture the totality of all prayers in my heart, as well as those for the suffering around the world, and give them all to Jesus in faith through the capable hands of his mother.
“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”
-Saint Maximillan Kolbe
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. —Revelation 12:1
Empyrean means heavenly or celestial. The divine transcends through prayer of the rosary because of the four sets of mysteries we consider, Glorious, Sorrowful, Joyful or Luminous are scriptural. Each guide us through five “decades” which begin with an Our Father, then ten Hail Mary prayers, and finally a Glory Be.
Each decade is based on a moment in the life and legacy of Christ, including that which began in the womb of his Blessed Mother, and ending with her reuniting with him in Heaven. We meditate through these divine moments with the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, which can take us to great depths of these great mysteries. Where would we be without the divine help of the Holy Spirit?
“The celestial b0odies are the cause of all that takes place in the sublunar world.” –Saint Thomas Aquinas
The repetitive prayer of the “Hail Mary”, most of which is found in the gospel of Luke, chapter 1, starting around verse 42 “Hail Mary, full of grace…” ends with a simple a petition to ask Our Lady for her prayers, “Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.” I think it is a good idea to ask her to pray for us at this defining moment, when we enter the empyrean realm.
We do not usually think of the physical when considering prayer, but the rosary involves the whole person—mind, body, and spirit—as we account for each prayer while walking with the Blessed Virgin Mary through her son’s life. Because my own ‘terrestrial” mother has been devoted to the rosary for years, having made many a pilgrimage, she has a wide variety of rosaries.
Taking an extra suitcase when she goes on her “holy travels”, my mom buys up all the rosaries she can fit and brings them home to hand out to everyone she meets all year long. On several occasions she purchased one for every child in my kids’ school (about 350 students.)
The rosaries range from simple plastic rosaries, to six-feet-long rosaries that include every decade—all 20—on one long strand. Some rosaries are themed, such one I have with icons of the great basilicas as the Our Father beads; there are also “peace rosaries”, and “stations of the cross” rosaries. Some rosaries have special beads that smell like rose petals because many have reported the smell of roses when fervently praying the rosary in holy places. Others are made from small rocks from the land where visions of Our Lady took place (I have one of these too!)
In any case, if you ask someone who has a great devotion to the rosary to tell you about their favorite rosary you will get a fast answer. Devotees hold fast to their favorite. Some prefer the smooth wood or the gripping texture of rope. Consequently, if we get too attached to our favorite rosary, sometimes we will be asked to give it up to someone else.
Unique Tool for Spiritual Growth
I have heard many stories of someone who adores a certain rosary (for sentimental reasons or the feel of it, etc.) they will hear the Holy Spirit nudge them to give it away. Always reluctant, they hear it loud and clear within their spirit and feel the unmistakable nudge to hand it over. Always to a recipient that seems to be on the verge of discovering the devotion for themselves and sure enough pass the special sacramental on to bless another. Perhaps the Holy Spirit wants us to keep the spirit of the prayer in the forefront, which is trust in the intercessory prayer of Jesus’ favorite lady, his mom.
Many of the faithful have turned to this prayer over centuries of pandemic disease, wars, starvation and natural disasters. With burdened fingers grasping the smooth beads in search of refuge, tender souls find themselves universally affected. Perhaps the fifteen promises that accompany the rosary make it appealing to some. I believe the rosary is pandemic because we receive consolation from our spiritual mother.
“Some people are so foolish that they think they can go through life without the help of the Blessed Mother. Love the Madonna and pray the Rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today. All graces given by God pass through the Blessed Mother.” —Saint Padre Pio
“The Rosary is a prayer both so humble and simple and theologically rich in bible content. I beg you to pray it.” –Saint John Paul The Great
“There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult is it, that we cannot resolve by the power of the Holy Rosary.” Sister Lucia (visionary of Fatima)
“Give me an army saying the rosary, and I will conquer the world.” –Blessed Pope Pius IX
Megan Naumovski is on a mission to remind the world of the love God has for each and every soul, and how that love deserves our response. Every day she is a wife and mom in her domestic church, but in the world she helps lead others to Christ though ministry leadership, teaching, speaking and blogging at The Domestic Church of Bosco, http://boscoworld.blog.
The Blessed Virgin Mary provides great consolation in time of need.
The stress and unknown due to the coronavirus makes life quite confusing. Here is a prayer I recently learned about that gave me peace. Our Lady Comforter OG the Afflicted is a powerful intercessor. Mary is closest to Her Son—Jesus Christ.
I hope this prayer brings you some comfort like it has for me.
Prayer to Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted
Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most compassionate Mother, we present ourselves in thy sight in all humility, and with full confidence we implore thee for thy maternal patronage.
Thou hast been proclaimed by Holy Church the Comforter of the Afflicted, and to thee constant recourse is had by the sorrowful in their afflictions, the sick in their maladies, the dying in their agony, the poor in their straitened circumstances, those who stand in all manner of need in both public and private calamities; and from thee they all receive consolation and strength.
Our dearest Mother, turn upon us also, wretched sinners that we are, thy merciful eyes, and graciously accept our humble and confident prayers. Aid us in all our spiritual and temporal necessities, deliver us from all evil and especially from sin, which is the greatest evil, and from all danger of falling into it; obtain for us from thy Son Jesus every blessing of which thou seest we stand in need both in soul and body, and especially the greatest blessing of all, which is Divine grace. Comfort our spirits, troubled and afflicted in the midst of the many dangers that threaten us, and the countless miseries and misfortunes that beset us on every side. This we ask through that immense joy which filled thy pure soul in the glorious Resurrection of thy Divine Son.
Obtain tranquillity for Holy Church, help and comfort for her visible Head, the Sovereign Pontiff, peace for Christian princes, refreshment in their pains for the Holy Souls in Purgatory; for sinners, the forgiveness of their sins, and for the just, perseverance in well-doing. Receive us all, our most tender Mother, under thy loving and mighty protection, that we may be enabled to live virtuously, die holily and attain to everlasting happiness in Heaven.
The half way point of Lent is a time period when many people begin to cave into their Lenten promises. I know for me it is a struggle. I gave up negativity and fast food. Though in giving it up I find myself with a lot of extra time. I have spent more time in prayer with God during these forty days.
The Latin word for Lent, quadragesima, literally means forty days! However, this number does not mean much to the average person unless they understand the significance of the number forty in Scripture.
God and Geography
The number forty is also attached to particular geography: mountains and deserts. When one thinks of these places words such as desolate, barren, alone, and harsh might come to mind.
God seems to have a close presence to individuals in the Bible in these settings. Take Moses for instance, in Exodus 24:18 when he stays on the peak of Mount Sinai for forty days and nights. It was here that Moses met God and received the Ten Commandments.
Elijah also met God upon a mountain, after traveling for forty days and nights. On the mountain, Elijah faced strong winds and an intense earthquake. But he continued to hold steadfast in faith and met God in a quite whisper.
How often do we let the “noises” of daily life distract us from God?
In this modern world, people hate the quite and constantly surround themselves with “things” (cellphones, internet, television, etc) to keep from silence.
Importance of Fasting
During Lent we are called to a life of fasting. While Christians should always be fasting in some degree throughout the year, the Church urges us to reflect upon it more deeply.
The first thing Jesus does after His Baptism is to fast in the desert for forty days and nights. Probably weak from hunger, He is tempted by the devil. But Jesus fails to give into worldly pleasures. It is this example that all Christians are called to in Lent. By giving up things from this world, we can center our life back onto Christ.
Though it may feel like you are on a mountaintop or in a desert thirsting, know that Lent is not a time for punishing yourself with guilt. In fasting one learns to give up unnecessary and sometimes harmful objects or habits and grow into a closer relationship with Jesus.
Hopefully at the end of Lent, we can all say that we truly experienced God in an deeper way, like Moses and Elijah did on the mountaintop!