Litany of Saints—Pray for Us!

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of heaven,

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,

God the Holy Spirit,

Holy Trinity, one God,

have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.

Holy Mary,

Holy Mother of God,

Holy Virgin of virgins,

St. Michael,

St. Gabriel,

St. Raphael,

All you Holy Angels and Archangels,

St. John the Baptist,

St. Joseph,

All you Holy Patriarchs and Prophets,

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

St. Peter,

St. Paul,

St. Andrew,

St. James,

St. John,

St. Thomas,

St. James,

St. Philip,

St. Bartholomew,

St. Matthew,

St. Simon,

St. Jude,

St. Matthias,

St. Barnabas,

St. Luke,

St. Mark,

All you holy Apostles and Evangelists,

All you holy Disciples of the Lord,

All you holy Innocents,

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

St. Stephen,

St. Lawrence,

St. Vincent,

Sts. Fabian and Sebastian,

Sts. John and Paul,

Sts. Cosmas and Damian,

All you holy Martyrs,

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

St. Sylvester,

St. Gregory,

St. Ambrose,

St. Augustine,

St. Jerome,

St. Martin,

St. Nicholas,

All you holy Bishops and Confessors,

All you holy Doctors,

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

St. Anthony,

St. Benedict,

St. Bernard,

St. Dominic,

St. Francis,

All you holy Priests and Levites,

All you holy Monks and Hermits,

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

St. Mary Magdalene,

St. Agatha,

St. Lucy,

St. Agnes,

St. Cecilia,

St. Anastasia,

St. Catherine,

St. Clare,

All you holy Virgins and Widows,

All you holy Saints of God,

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

pray for us.

Lord, be merciful,

From all evil,

From all sin,

From your wrath,

From a sudden and unprovided death,

From the snares of the devil,

From anger, hatred, and all ill-will,

From the spirit of uncleanness,

From lightning and tempest,

From the scourge of earthquake,

From plague, famine, and war,

From everlasting death,

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

By the mystery of your holy Incarnation,

By your Coming,

By your Birth,

By your Baptism and holy fasting,

By your Cross and Passion,

By your Death and Burial,

By your holy Resurrection,

By your wonderful Ascension,

By the coming of the Holy Spirit,

On the day of judgment,

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Lord, save your people.

Be merciful to us sinners,

Lord, hear our prayer.

That you will spare us,

That you will pardon us,

That it may please you to bring us to true

penance,

Guide and protect your holy Church,

Preserve in holy religion the Pope, and all

those in holy Orders,

Humble the enemies of holy Church,

Give peace and unity to the whole Christian

people,

Bring back to the unity of the Church all

those who are straying, and bring all

unbelievers to the light of the Gospel,

Strengthen and preserve us in your holy

service,

Raise our minds to desire the things of

heaven,

Reward all our benefactors with eternal

blessings,

Deliver our souls from eternal damnation,

and the souls of our brethren, relatives,

and benefactors,

Give and preserve the fruits of the earth,

Grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed,

That it may please You to hear and heed

us, Jesus, Son of the Living God,

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of

the world,

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of

the world,

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of

the world,

Spare us, O Lord!

Graciously hear us, O Lord!

Have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us,

Lord Jesus, hear our prayer.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, graciously hear us

Lord Jesus, hear our prayer.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on

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A Plea to the Lord in Time of Need

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Lord I hate sin and death. I loath injustice in the world. I despise my inequities, my feelings of doubt nearly every day of my life. I want this depression to leave me. I am weary from the fight against myself, my fears, and the constant barrage of assaults against the devil. Death seems to surround us at all times. Wars, natural disasters, political strife dominate the news climate. Darkness lurks over me in recent times. My grandfather is nearing the completion of his earthly life and  there is a great chasm in my soul left by the wound remaining from the loss of my unborn daughter Lucia.
The only suitable response in the face of this suffering and overwhelming despair is to petition you Lord God the Almighty to send me strength and consolation in my moments of weakness. I plea for the support of the Blessed Virgin Mary along with her Holy cache of saints to protect me from the prowess and threats of the Evil One.

Amen.

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A Letter to Lucia

Below is a letter I wrote to my unborn daughter Lucia Faustina who we buried on 12/19/2017.

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Dear Lucia,

 

Today, I stood aside a grave of another unborn child. I will never be able to hold you in my arms, or gaze joyfully at your face, or comfort you when you cry. It is not natural for a father to bury his child. This is truly a surreal and somber experience. Hope is the only thing getting me through this day–this week. The virtue of hope will be key to helping me through the next several months as I grapple with the loss of my sweet daughter.

Your name means “light”. Lucia I pray for strength to live out my vocation as a husband and father to your amazing mother and siblings. I guarantee that your brothers and sister would adore you. I am also confident that you are looking over us in communion with Jeremiah, St. Lucy, the Blessed Virgin and all the other saints in Heaven. Please send our Heavenly Father my supplications for daily pardon and peace. I am reeling from losing you, but I understand that hope can never be lost if I cling to God’s Providence. May the light of God radiate upon your family as you provided light to your mother and I even though it was for what seemed a fleeting moment.

Your siblings and your mother deeply miss you. We hope to be united with your after our pilgrim journey in this life is completed.

With great love and gratitude,

Your father

P.S. I conclude with a prayer to St. Lucia asking for intercession to help my family heal:

Saint Lucy

Whose beautiful name signifies ‘LIGHT’

by the light of faith which God bestowed upon you

increase and preserve His light in my soul

so that I may avoid evil,

Be zealous in the performance of good works

and abhor nothing so much as the blindness and

the darkness of evil and sin.

Obtain for me, by your intercession with God

Perfect vision for my bodily eyes

and the grace to use them for God’s greater honor and glory

and the salvation of souls.

St. Lucy, virgin and martyr

hear my prayers and obtain my petitions.

Amen.

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Saint Pius X- Eclipser of Errors

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Pope Pius X was an influential successor of St. Peter at the turn of the 20th century. Born Giuseppe Mechiorre Sarto in 1835, he lived near Venice, Italy. Coming from a poor family of ten children, Giuseppe acquired an education aided through his keen intellect and high moral character. Eventually, he rose the ranks of the Catholic Church and became supreme pontiff in 1903. He led the Church until 1914.

To be honest, my initial knowledge about Pius X was overshadowed by his predecessor and later successor bearing the same appellation—Pius IX and Pius XII. However, the more I read and learned about the sainted bishop the more I gained an appreciation for what he offered the Church.

1. Marian devotion: Following the tradition of his predecessor, Pius IX, Pius X held a strong devotion to Mary. He dedicated an entire encyclical on the Mystery of the Immaculate Conception. The Italian pope definitively declared the significance of Mary in Ad Dieum Illum Laetissimum,

For can anyone fail to see that there is no surer or more direct road than by Mary for uniting all mankind in Christ and obtaining through Him the perfect adoption of sons, that we may be holy and immaculate in the sight of God?… it surely follows that His Mother most holy should be recognized as participating in the divine mysteries and as being in a manner the guardian of them, and that upon her as upon a foundation, the noblest after Christ, rises the edifice of the faith of all centuries (no. 5).

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Pius X lauded the intercessory nature and power of Mary throughout this encyclical letter. Safeguarding and passing on the teaching of the Church, the Italian pope cited his predecessor’s clear and definitive language on the importance of Mary. “By this companionship in sorrow and suffering already mentioned between the Mother and the Son, it has been allowed to the august Virgin to be the most powerful mediatrix and advocate of the whole world with her Divine Son (Pius IX. Ineffabilis) (no. 13), wrote Pius X.

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2. Emphasis on the Eucharist: Pius X’s love and admiration for the Blessed Mother ultimately helped him grow in closeness with Jesus. As a result, it should not be a surprise that the saint held a deep reverence and adoration for the Sacrament of the Eucharist. If Pius X’s pontificate could be summed up in a single theme it would be the promotion of Holy Communion to young people. In his encyclical letter, Quam Singulari the Italian pope lowered the minimum age to receive the Eucharist to seven years old. The ancient church allowed for children to receive the sacraments of initiation at a young age. Pius X condemned the error that delayed children from receiving the body and blood of Jesus until age ten or sometimes not until the adolescent years. Over time this practice dissipated and the age to receive the Eucharist was increased.  The pope wasted no time in chastising the error which distinguished the age of reason between receiving Confession and Holy Communion. He boldly proclaimed in his encyclical,

The abuses which we are condemning are due to the fact that they who distinguished one age of discretion for Penance and another for the Eucharist did so in error. The Lateran Council required one and the same age for reception of either Sacrament when it imposed the one obligation of Confession and Communion.

Therefore, the age of discretion for Confession is the time when one can distinguish between right and wrong, that is, when one arrives at a certain use of reason, and so similarly, for Holy Communion is required the age when one can distinguish between the Bread of the Holy Eucharist and ordinary bread-again the age at which a child attains the use of reason (Quam Singulari).

If this language is not clear enough, Pius X point blank states, “To postpone Communion, therefore, until later and to insist on a more mature age for its reception must be absolutely discouraged” (Quam Singulari). As a father of three young children, I am indebted to the leadership of Pius X to unify the Catholic Church by lowering the age to seven for Holy Communion. Children acquire countless graces from this sacrament to ward off evil. Today’s world is as challenging to raise a family in the faith perhaps as any time in history. I am grateful I will have the weapon of the Eucharist to help my children fight the spiritual battles they will face daily.

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3. Clarity of Truth: This year’s feast day of St. Pius X coincided with the epic solar eclipse. This saint and stellar event both elicit curiosity and awe. Truth has a penchant for grabbing people’s attention. Pope Pius X’s encyclicals are loaded with truth as the Italian pope acted as a guardian of Christ’s teaching. He wrote in Ascendi Dominici Gregis a lengthy refutation of the various errors and heresies surrounding his time. Pius X found the root cause of the prevalent heresy of his time—Modernism. He detailed this in his encyclical letter,

According to this teaching Modernism] human reason is confined entirely within the field of phenomena, that is to say, to things that are perceptible to the senses, and in the manner in which they are perceptible; it has no right and no power to transgress these limits. Hence it is incapable of lifting itself up to God, and of recognising His existence, even by means of visible things. From this it is inferred that God can never be the direct object of science, and that, as regards history, He must not be considered as an historical subject (Ascendi Dominici Gregis no. 6).

In other words, faith and science, to the Enlightened Man, are never meant to intermingle or coexist. According to the Modernist, a harmony between the two sources of man’s knowledge of God is simply a moral machination on the part of the Catholic Church.

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From my experiences, the error of Modernity certainly eclipses truth [no pun intended!]. Creation is a revelation of God’s divine providence. Christianity is insistent that Christ became man. Knowledge through the senses is a path toward which God elects to reveal His grandeur. It is against the backdrop of cosmic events like the August 21st solar eclipse that man realizes his littleness in the universe. Despite our seemingly insignificance in this world, I have found that sometimes I actually grow closer to God when I encounter His august nature.

I discovered two concise quotes from St. Pius X to close my reflections on his life. The first concerns Mary [fun fact—the symbol of the Moon is traditionally associated with Her!] and the second relates to Christ—the true sun!  Of Mary he proclaimed, “ Let the storm rage and the sky darken — not for that shall we be dismayed. If we trust as we should in Mary, we shall recognize in her, the Virgin Most Powerful who with virginal foot did crush the head of the serpent.” Regarding Jesus’ body and blood, the pope said, “Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to heaven.” Sadly, I did not get to experience the fullness of the solar eclipse of 2017. Darkness did cover the earth in my location, but clouds and storms prevented me from actually seeing the unique event of the moon aligning with the sun. I am blessed that I had an increased encounter with the true Sun—the Son of God. I am grateful for the gift of St. Pius X the Eclipser of Error who made Eucharist a priority for young people.

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3 Reasons Why St. Ambrose of Milan is Still Relevant Today!

Living in the 4th century A.D., St. Ambrose was bishop of Milan during a tumultuous era of Church history. His road to ordination was an interesting journey. After the sudden death of the current bishop of Milan in 374 A.D. and in the climate of the Arian heresy, Ambrose, an unbaptized believe in Christ, was a charismatic figure who appealed to people of all sides of the Arian debate. Baptized as a Christian in his mid-thirties, Ambrose soon after received the Sacrament of Holy Orders and shepherded the peoples of Milan of the reminder of his life. Today I wish to highlight 3 reasons why I believe St. Ambrose is still relevant to Christians in the 21st century.

1. “You catch more flies with Honey than you do with vinegar”: There exists a legend within the hagiography of Ambrose which tells of a bizarre encounter with bees. As an infant, it is purported that several bees hovered over the head of the saint as an infant. Upon flying off, in addition to leaving Ambrose unharmed honey was left behind on his head. Ambrose’s parents interpreted this an a divine sign and foretelling of his ability to eloquently speak and unite differing factions. For this reason, Ambrose became known as the patron saint of beekeepers. Bees and honey are common symbols associated with him. According to Mike Aquilina in The Fathers of the Church: An Introduction to the First Christian Teachers, “He was unanimously elected bishop, winning the votes of both Arians and the Catholics…an intellectual, he could move the movers and shakers of Latin culture. It was he who finally persuaded the stubborn Augustine to proceed to Baptism [I will expand in this later on!] “ (p. 166). Sweetness and kindness of speech is equally important to proclaiming truth. Ambrose found a balance between charity and truth. As result he was an effective teacher and administrator of the Catholic Church.

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2. Model of the Episcopate: Along with Ambrose’s ability to teach truth in a charitable manner, he remained steadfast as a guardian of the teaching of the Catholic Church—one of the most important functions of a bishop! Because of his sweetness of speech, Ambrose built up enough rapport with the secular leaders of his time that when the time came to stand his ground his words packed clout. Ambrose graciously, but sternly, declined Emperor Valentinian’s invitation to a Church Council that bishop believed the secular leader had no authority convening. The sainted bishop stated,

And how, O Emperor, are we to settle a matter on which you have already declared your judgment, and have even promulgated laws, so that it is not open to anyone to judge otherwise?…if anything has to be discussed I have learned to discuss it in Church, as those before he did. If a conference is to be held concerning the faith, there ought to be a gathering of bishops, as was done under Constantine, the prince of august memory, who did not promulgate any laws beforehand, but left the decision to the bishops…

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3. Master of the Master: According to R. Thornton in St. Ambrose: His Life, Times, and Teaching, St. Ambrose had a significant impact on arguably the most influential theologian in the history of the Catholic Church—St. Augustine of Hippo. In fact, Augustine makes a point to frequently mention the influence of Ambrose in his Confessions Book VI Chapters 1-8. “The bishop of Milan was at least the guide of the guide of the theology of the West,” stated Thornton (St. Ambrose: His Life, Times, and Teaching p. 125). To put it in modern lingo, St. Ambrose was the Qui-Gon Jinn to Augustine’s Obi-Wan Kenobi!!

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The bishop of Milan lived more than 1,600 years ago. Nevertheless, he is more relevant than ever. In the age of social media, our world needs holy men and women to demonstrate truth in a charitable way. Proclaiming truth without kindness will never convert unbelievers’ hearts. St. Ambrose is a reminder and role model for our society that charitable dialogue is possible. For me personally, I need daily reminders to wed truth with charity. Remembering St. Ambrose’s life provides me with a guide on how to interact peacefully in a secular world. Finally, the sainted bishop’s ability to network with a myriad of people is another example of how he is still applicable to our society of marketing, social media, and age of internet. The next time I notice an buzzing bee on a summer’s day I will be reminded of the sweetness of truth exemplified by Ambrose!

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Am I Trending Toward Megalomania With this Blog?

Breaking away from my more theologically oriented topics I normally focus on, today I need to discuss something that I cannot put off any longer. Has this blog made me power hungry? More importantly, am I trending toward megalomania through my writing endeavors on this blog? While it is may be safe to assume I am not a megalomaniac yet, I have my concerns about my past desire for power and control.

1. Obsession or passion?: Whenever I discover an interesting field of study I plunge my heart, mind, and soul into learning the entire subject and am quick to develop an adroitness to that subject. My OCD tendency brings me to the precipice of passion– where I choose between sanity or diving off the edge toward obsession– and seek mastery of a subject. This fine line between the inherent goodness of passion towards a field of study and the danger of obsession is a grave concern I have about whether I am trending toward megalomania with my writing.

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2. Means to Go Down this Path: Along with my inherent natural tendency to fall prey to obsession I have the means to succumb to this darkness—experience with successful writing and free time. I finally pushed through the large world of publishing by getting an article published into a Catholic magazine. What made it official was that I actually got paid an honorarium! Back then I did not have the free time I have now so my means to achieve power and attaining notoriety has never been better.

3. Pen is Mightier than Sword: This metonymic adage seems to be truer with the passage of time. The inception of the Internet in the late 20th century and the burgeoning of social media allows the pen grow sharper and the sword duller. I am blessed to live in a country where the First Amendment grants the right to freedom of speech. My existence in a social milieu that encourages expression of thoughts leads to the temptation for power in pushing out as many publications and gaining as many followers. To be perfectly frank, I get a sense of happiness when I notice I gain a follower. It pleases me. But I am not satisfied long because I continue to seek to gain more and more prestige and power from the little blog I re-started to months’ ago. I need to beware of wielding one of the greatest weapons of all-time—power of print! If I am not aware of this peril I may plummet to a pitfall I will struggle to escape from.

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Despite my pessimistic language about me teetering on the brink of megalomania I do have reason for hope.

1. Preparedness: My OCD may sometimes lead me toward obsessive and megalomaniac paths but this is a nice benefit to my personality and my autistic tendencies—I always am prepared. Hints at my propensity for organization and planning flashed up during my childhood. Even when playing board game I have a certain readiness about me. For example, whenever my wife and I play the cooperative game Pandemic I usually don the role of the contingency planner. My recognition of my leaning toward megalomania is a good sign I can stop it from coming to fruition!

2. Allies: Being Catholic I have a wealth of resources and allies for me to draw upon for courage and endurance. After completing my first Marian consecration with my wife on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, I have gained a new awareness that I may rely on my Holy Mother to bring me closer to God. Secondly, I have a plethora of examples of Catholic saints who struggled with the sin of pride just like myself. St. Paul and St. Jerome are the first that come to mind.

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3. Weapons Against Wickedness: Together with my penchant for strategy and the saints to guide me in battle against megalomania, I have access to an arsenal of weapons guaranteed to defeat this pride I face—the sacraments! First the sacrament of Baptism I received as a baby erased the stain of original sin. I died to sin and became a new creation. Secondly, the sacrament of Confession is especially powerful in my battle against megalomania as through the priest Jesus Christ grants the forgiveness of sin and graces me with strength to carry on anew. The Eucharist is food that fees me on my journey and graces me with Jesus’s own Body and Blood to defeat any sinful inclination. The last sacrament I want to focus on is marriage. While the Eucharist is the most powerful and source of life of the Church, I experience the sacrament of marriage more frequently. My wife and helpmate toward holiness graces me with the gift of perspective and she is like the DC Comics superhero Wonder Woman since she is able to kill any prideful tendency of mine and puts me on the right path toward humility.

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I think one of the main reason I love writing is that I am changed and I seek to change others as well. Going into writing this post I honestly thought I would end on a pessimistic and apocalyptic tone. Somehow I was changed through the process of writing and reflecting on my sources of strength: Jesus, Mary, the saints, sacraments, and my wife. Remember despite the seeming darkness in the world hope will always prevail!

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